In another sign that "Microsoft loves Linux," as CEO Satya Nadella proudly proclaimed last year, the Redmond, Wash.-based software and cloud services company today announced a new certification for IT professionals.
Dubbed the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure certification, and created with the help of the Linux Foundation, the stamp of approval "represents one more important step in broadening the technology integration between Microsoft and the open-source community," the company said in a Dec. 9 statement. Certification requires passing the company' Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (Microsoft Exam 70-533) and the Linux Foundation's Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exams.
Microsoft's open-source outreach over the past few years hasn't gone without notice, according to Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation.
"From participating in Node.js, the Core Infrastructure Initiative and other Collaborative Projects at Linux Foundation to its recent partnerships with Red Hat and SUSE, Microsoft is demonstrating a sincere, smart and practical approach to how it builds new technologies and supports its vast customer base," he wrote in a blog post today.
"Microsoft open-sourced .NET; it open-sourced key parts of its Web browser; and it uses Linux for its Azure Cloud Switch," he added. Microsoft also today announced that an independent group of volunteers at the company open-sourced and forked Windows Live Writer, a well-regarded blog authoring tool, that hasn't been updated since its 2012 release. The new software, called Open Live Writer, can be downloaded here.
Apart from establishing closer ties with the open-source community, the move can also help IT professionals land their next gig.
According to Microsoft, Linux accounts for a significant portion of the virtual machines on Azure. Half of the Fortune 500 uses Microsoft Azure, and 40 percent of Azure revenue comes from startups and independent software vendors (ISVs).
"Professionals who can run both Linux and Windows systems, as well as understand hybrid environments and the development behind them will rise to the top of their field with better pay and career prospects," Zemlin said. "And employers who invest in these skills among their team members will be assured of their skill sets and will be able to support future workloads as we move toward a world dominated by cloud computing."
in a separate blog post, Alison Cunard, general manager of Microsoft Learning Experiences, wrote that the "new certification combines Linux administration and Microsoft Azure implementation skills across designing, implementing and maintaining complex Linux solutions that leverage Microsoft Azure's extensive features and capabilities. The Linux Foundation exams are performance-based and measure practical skills, which makes them a great partner for this combined certification."
Despite Azure's Windows-based legacy, Linux has established a solid foothold on Microsoft's cloud computing platform. "Currently, approximately one in four virtual machines on Azure are Linux, and more than half of Azure Marketplace images are based on Linux, which creates a great deal of opportunity on the Open Source platform," noted Cunard.