Microsoft and Azul partner on OpenJDK for Windows Azure

26 July 2013

Microsoft and Azul Systems have announced they are partnering on a Windows distribution build of the community-driven open source Java implementation, known as OpenJDK (Java Development Kit), for use on Windows Server on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform.

The Microsoft Open Technologies (MS Open Tech) subsidiary of the technology giant, which is tasked with bridging Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies, is partnering with Azul Systems to fulfil its mission and obviously hopes to make open source Java-based apps and other tools more accessible on the Azure cloud platform.

Azul Systems will build, certify and distribute a compliant OpenJDK-based distribution meeting the Java SE specification for use with Windows Server environments on Azure. The new OpenJDK-based offering will be freely distributed and licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) with the Classpath Exception.

Open source has long been a key building block for enterprise IT strategies since Linux/Unix days. Customers require choice in where and how they deploy new and existing Java applications, however, and Microsoft realises it has to be part of this community in some shape or form.

Through the partnership the global community of Java developers gain access to open source Java on the Windows Azure cloud. It should also serve the growing number of Java applications that both small and medium businesses and global enterprises depend on to run their businesses.

With the support of Azul Systems and MS Open Tech, customers should be assured of a high-quality foundation for their Java implementations while leveraging the latest advancements in OpenJDK. The OpenJDK project is supported by what the partners term a vibrant open source community, and Azul Systems is committed to updating and maintaining its OpenJDK-based offering for Windows Azure. This support for current and future versions of both Java and Windows Server will be crucial in gaining adherents. Deploying Java applications on Windows Azure will be further simplified, claim the partners, because of the existing open source MS Open Tech Windows Azure for Eclipse Plugin with Java. Whether Java-heads will want to embrace the auld enemy in this manner is of course a matter for debate.

Commenting on the link-up, Scott Sellers, Azul Systems president and chief executive, said: “This initiative is all about bringing Java to the masses in the cloud. We will be providing a fully open and unconstrained Java environment - with open choice of third-party stacks - for developers and essential applications deployed on Windows Azure.”

According to Jean Paoli, president of MS Open, his company and Azul Systems partner are motivated by a common goal to make the world of mixed IT environments work better together for end user customers. “This partnership will enable developers and IT professionals to ensure their mission-critical apps deploy and run smoothly on Windows Azure, using the open source Java environment they prefer,” he explained. “With Azul Systems rich Java heritage and strong customer track record, partnering was a natural decision.”

News Analysis
The strategy is somewhat backed by a Forrester Research report from 14 June 14 this year entitled ‘The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms’ which states that: “Microsoft’s strategy for Windows Azure is very strong for two reasons … creating a single platform spanning many clouds is achievable, valuable, and a natural act for Microsoft.

“… Microsoft’s openness to other platforms, languages, databases, development environments, and tools is genuine and virtually assures Windows Azure’s relevance as technology evolves,” concluded the report.

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