Once dreaded enemies, Open Source-leader Red Hat and the so-called Darth Vader of proprietary – Microsoft – continues to expand their budding partnership by teaming up for offerings in the cloud.

“Alongside Microsoft, Red Hat is providing a way for organizations to make technology choices that matter to them, from containerized workloads to public cloud services, without adding complexity. Combined with our integrated support teams, we’re able to offer a pathway to digital transformation that offers the capabilities, flexibility and choice required to power the future of enterprise IT,” said Matthew Hicks, vice president of Software Engineering for OpenShift and Management at Red Hat on Tuesday.

Having reached a patent agreement earlier, Red Hat will now support Microsoft’s Azure cloud with support in Red Hat OpenShift, its primary cloud offering.

While Microsoft and Red Hat have drawn closer over the past several years, the cloud deal took a while to develop.

“Until late 2015, Red Hat was noticeably absent from the list of Linux distributions that Microsoft supported on Azure. (Others already there at that time included Ubuntu, CentOS, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE), notes ZDnet.

“Microsoft and Red Hat ended up finally announcing a deal – which involved a patent agreement between the two companies – in November 2015.”

The Hatters will now support Window Server containers, a dedicated offering for Microzoft Azure and support for SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (its best-known product).

According to the joint announcement, the “new initiatives [are] aimed at enabling enterprises to more easily adopt containers. … This helps to assure IT organizations that whatever challenges they face on their path to digital transformation, Microsoft and Red Hat will stand by them together.”

  • VIDEO: Watch an overview about the agreement at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=MEhX-J0bLRc

The two are now partnering to support cloud evolution in which more enterprises use containers that support multiple infrastructures, such as Windows and Linux.

Enterprises see the benefit in using containerized applications to run their mission-critical workloads, but most IT organizations are not standardized on a single infrastructure stack. These heterogeneous environments often carry both Windows and Linux platforms, siloing applications and making it difficult for a business to modernize and scale their operations.

The two firms also will partner to develop and support performance standards as well as integrated support.

“Microsoft and Red Hat are aligned in our commitment to bring enterprise customers the hybrid cloud solutions they need to modernize their businesses as they shift to operate in a cloud-native world,” said John Gossman, Lead Azure Architect, at Microsoft. “Today, we’re extending this commitment as we again join forces to bring fully integrated solutions that simplify container adoption and help customers make the most of their hybrid cloud strategies.”