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Linux usage on Azure now surpasses Windows

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 02 July, 2019

Linux usage on Azure now surpasses Windows

Usage of Linux on Microsoft’s Azure cloud has now surpassed Windows, further cementing the operating system’s dominance in the cloud market.

Microsoft’s Linux kernel developer Sasha Levin revealed the milestone in public correspondence to the Openwall project for improving the security of Linux and other open computing environments.

The proportion of Azure instances running Linux has increased from around 25% in 2015 to 40% in 2017 to a majority today.

The milestone reflects Microsoft’s growing willingness to embrace the operating system that its former CEO Steve Ballmer once called “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”.

It also reflects Linux’s increasing dominance in the cloud computing and enterprise IT space. While Linux is consistently estimated to have a less than 2% share of the desktop PC segment, it is estimated to run more than 70% of the world’s top 10 million websites, and to power 92% of Amazon EC2 instances.

On Azure, there are now at least eight Linux distributions available. Microsoft’s own Azure Sphere hardware and software stack solution for securing edge devices has also been designed to use a custom Linux kernel, and its homegrown software-defined network is also based on Linux.

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