Running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on Azure for Free.

It is unfamiliar to hear Windows supporting Linux. In all the years of using Windows I only heard of people running Windows in Linux (WINE).

One thing that is certain - Now, I want to be talking about how Linux can run on Windows Azure! We all know that technically it is a Virtual Machine with the Linux Operating System. But did you know that Microsoft is one of the largest contributors to Linux Source (as of writing this article). So lets create a Virtual Machine with 12.04 LTS on Windows Azure :)

First of all you need to grab a Free Trial Account  which only takes a few minutes to create. Once you have completed this you need to go to - That is the "control panel" and we will be using this very often.

Click on Virtual Machine -> Quick Create. Select Ubuntu from the Drop down list and I selected Extra Small machine. You may also want to look at the Gallery - There are many other options.Click create Virtual machine. It can take a few minutes.

Usually when I have to install Ubuntu it is because I am after the ZFS features for drive pooling but mostly to run a LAMP Stack (Linux Apache MySql PHP) for some kind of PHP Web Application. But that is a thing of past now. Server 2012 supports drive pooling and I do not do any more PHP development as I only use IIS and .NET MVC because its lightning fast. You don't have to believe me but Joel Spolsky, the founder of Stack Overflow explains why he decided to run his successfully Q&A on C# and IIS on this YouTube Talk.

There are a handful of other reasons to run Linux next to Windows.

After the image has been deployed, navigating to the URL will not produce anything. So we have to SSH into the VM now and I think the most trusted utility to do that is Putty. You can find the port number on the Dashboard tab of the Virtual Machine.

Login with "azureuser" and the password you selected when creating the virtual machine.

Lets install Apache as quick example. 

sudo apt-get install apache2

Back in Azure mange, create endpoints for port 80 ...

... and navigate to your public URL.

Yes, it is just like any other Ubuntu install - except that it took only a few clicks of a button and a few minutes to deploy.

It just cannot be any easier to run virtual machines. Azure also offers several other packages. These are really exciting times at Microsoft.