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Supporting CentOS In The Cloud With Windows Azure


Open source is all about choice. Over the years, OpenLogic has grown and thrived in part because our mission is centered around giving that choice to corporations —the flexibility to choose the best open-source tools for any job, as well as the support they need to confidently deploy and maintain open source across the network.

We don’t tell enterprises what open source projects they should want. Instead, we give them as many options as possible and help them to deploy that software successfully, safely and securely.

So we applaud any company that enables choice.

That’s why we are so excited to be a part of the Microsoft Windows Azure Portal where OpenLogic will provide SLA support on CentOS. Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables developers to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Microsoft is making a big step forward by giving web and application developers that want to run their Cloud apps on CentOS Linux the choice to do so, as well as the option of commercial-grade support for each step of the way.  


Why does this matter?

We’ve seen the number of web developers using CentOS grow significantly in the past year, especially after the improved virtualization support in the CentOS 6 release last summer. With the inclusion of CentOS in the Windows Azure Portal, we only expect those numbers to continue to grow. We are thrilled to be partnering with Microsoft to expand enterprise choice in the cloud.   


Why now?

We see 3 reasons driving Microsoft’s growing involvement with Linux.

First, Microsoft continues maturing its views on open source. Earlier this year Wired magazine noted that Microsoft has done significant work with Node.js, Hadoop, and Samba. These are all very positive steps and it appears to me there is a small, but influential group at Microsoft committed to the growth of OSS.

Second, Microsoft enterprise customers must be asking for Linux. We know enterprise development has one or more of virtually every major technology ever deployed. Sooner or later the walls between different proprietary platforms come down as customer use and willingness to pay grow. Linux is certainly a technology that many enterprise customers have in widespread use.

Finally, Windows Azure’s competition already offers Linux. If you are looking for a standardized cloud platform and 2 of the big 3 support Linux, you’ve got great options. If Microsoft wants to play in larger, non-Windows only customers, Linux becomes table stakes.


Community Impact

For enterprise developers and IT folks who are multi-source and multi-platform, today’s announcement is good news. The Windows and Linux worlds take one step towards each other.

For OSS communities as a whole, I think they will meet this with overall wariness and skepticism. Some will view this with hope and a positive step; others will continue to be cynical.

For me, it’s part of a larger overall process that continues to signal open source coming of age. What major vendor doesn’t have an open source story now? It’s such an ingrained part of development, from legacy to mobile to cloud, that we can’t live without and we are figuring out how to love living with it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
Creative Commons License.


You state above that "Open source is all about choice". 
On every other major cloud vendor from Amazon to Terremark you can modify to run as root. So how does one run as root - true root - on your Centos 6.2 ? 
All of the usual methods only yield "Authentication token manipulation error" 
I don't see any support for that image available on your site. Everything requires payment. 
Why am I paying to get back that which I have already paid Microsoft for and open source said belonged to us ? 
Please don't pretend to be all about open source if you are just going to be all about INCOME from open source. 
Curious to see the response. Ideally it should be "how to enable root in YOUR Centos 6.2 LINUX OPEN SOURCE virtual machine and so sorry for your ignorance because you did not know this method." 
In fact, if it is a standard method and my ignorance keeps me from changing it then I should definitely pay you some money. 
Otherwise your contribution is hypocrisy and I shouldn't have to pay money because you changed the behavior of the software using proprietary methods. 
Which is it ?
Posted @ Friday, June 08, 2012 8:48 AM by Curious to know
Thanks for your comment. With respect to the technical question you asked; 
You absolutely can get root access on CentOS on Azure. Here's the basic steps as well as a link to an article talking about this on the Microsoft web site which has a little more detail. 
1. ssh as the user you set up during deploy 
2. run 'sudo su -'. (this should put you right into a root shell) 
With respect to your other thoughts, at OpenLogic our mission is to help enterprise customers be successful with applications they are building using open source technologies.  
While we are still in the preview period with CentOS on Azure, please note that all of our open source content is available on our web site for free. We have a free and open source scanning tool called OSS Discovery which is available to you.  
We do charge for support on open source packages, over 600 of them in fact for folks that want that additional assistance. We share this revenue with various open source community members through the OpenLogic Expert Community and we have always supported many different open source organizations and open source projects through annual donations. We work very hard to be a great OSS citizen with many open source communities and to help our enterprise customers as they continue their adoption and deployment of open source technologies.
Posted @ Friday, June 08, 2012 3:37 PM by Steven Grandchamp
Update from Curious to know... 
I now know "which it is", and am delighted to report that the inability to reset the root password for the Centos virtual machine is NOT an attempt to control the universe. I called Openlogic sales and a very nice gentlemen heard my inquiry and over the next few days I received several gracious emails from the folks at Openlogic. 
In a nutshell the Centos image is "evolving" and I have been told that some modifications will be made so that, as with the Ubuntu image, you will be able to enable/change the root password and access the cloud computer as true root. 
As Mr. Grandchamp notes it is possible to use the console as root and soon, not exactly sure when, real root access will be avaiable. 
Kudos to Openlogic for a reasonable and appropriate business model coupled with a high level of professionalism overall.
Posted @ Thursday, June 14, 2012 4:35 PM by Curious to know
A quick update on the root password issue. We have found that SELinux is turned on and blocking password access. A new version of the image will be available soon giving users the password change ability. 
Until then there is an easy workaround… 
Access a root shell… 
# sudo -s 
Disable SELinux enforcement 
# setenforce 0 
Change the root password (or any other user) 
# passwd 
New password: 
Turn SELinux enforcement back on 
# setenforce 1 
Posted @ Friday, June 22, 2012 6:10 PM by Eric Weidner
Another solution for the passwd issue: 
# chcon -t shadow_t /etc/shadow 
... and that's all, passwd now works OK 
I guess the script that sets the user/password on VM creation modifies /etcc/shadow without setting the right SELinux attributes.
Posted @ Saturday, June 23, 2012 8:05 AM by Claude
Hi there 
Is it possible to get a list of packages that are included on your centos for azure? Is it just similar to the minimal install of centos 6.2? 
Posted @ Tuesday, October 09, 2012 7:50 AM by ttflex
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