Microsoft’s bid for open source applications begins with WordPress

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the Microsoft PDC conference is the possibility that Azure could become a leading platform for hosting open source applications. In giving his Azure update, Ray Ozzie gave the full spotlight to a couple of open source developers, including Automattic, the company that develops WordPress and opened the code through the GPL.

Matt Mullenweg started by assuring the assembled crowd of Microsoft developers that Automattic is still fully committed to LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) and he did not make any commitments toward future hosting. He said that his team was giving Azure a test-spin, and so far, no complaints.

Next came a WordPress developer who said he is giving Azure a try because of its ability to scale for peak loads. Martin Cron, of the Cheezburger network, told the assembled developers that his network of blogs, including icanhascheezburger, sustains about 8 million page views, 10,000 user submissions and over 100,000 votes every day. He is not running the current network on Azure but he has launched his newest project, OddlySpecific, on Azure and likewise, no complaints.

So this will be something of a public challenge for Microsoft with Azure.

Give these developers a few months and see if Automattic is moving WordPress.org or Cron is moving his more demanding web sites to Azure. That will be the ultimate test. But for now, the challenge at least says Microsoft is willing to stake its reputation on Azure’s ability to run LAMP.

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