Microsoft continues embracing Linux with new Azure certification

Redmond really does love Linux

In a partnership that would have seemed most unlikely back when Microsoft railed against open source, the software company has teamed with the Linux Foundation to offer a certification for managing Linux systems in the Azure cloud.

The new Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Linux on Azure certification allows people to show that they have invested time in developing skills to run Linux servers in Microsoft's cloud. It's something of a surprising move, considering that Azure didn't even support Linux virtual machines four years ago, but meshes with Microsoft's current strategy of embracing open source technologies.

In order to acquire the certification, a candidate has to pass the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator exam and the Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam. Once they've done that, they can apply for the certification. Neither of those exams are new, but the resulting certification is.

That's good news for people who have already passed one or both exams. Existing passes still count towards the certification, so people who have passed both exams just have to contact Microsoft about acquiring their certification. 

Those folks who haven't yet passed the exams will have to shell out several hundred dollars just to take the tests. Depending on their level of skill, certification seekers may want to undertake additional training to prepare for the tests, which will cost more money. 

Wednesday's news is yet another sign of Microsoft's commitment to running Linux workloads on Azure.

According to John Shewchuk, a technical fellow at Microsoft, more than half of the images companies can deploy from the Azure Marketplace use Linux, rather than Microsoft's technologies. It's something he says is emblematic of Microsoft's approach to Linux, especially under its new CEO, Satya Nadella.  

"So now, to have half the Marketplace be Linux workloads, and to be doing work like this to get people certified, it really does represent a sea change in the engagement model [for Microsoft]," Shewchuk said in an interview. "And it's clear that Satya has been at the core of much of this change."

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