Expanding a growing portfolio of enterprise software it sells as hosted services, Microsoft plans to add Java to its Windows Azure cloud service.
"Having support for a Java platform on Azure is something our customers have been asking for," said Gianugo Rabellino, a senior director at Microsoft Open Technologies.
Microsoft will offer the Java Standard Edition (Java SE) by the end of the year, both as a stand-alone PaaS (platform as a service) and as a component of a Windows Server IaaS (infrastructure as a service), as part of Windows Azure service.
For the Java runtime, Microsoft has commissioned Azul Systems to develop and maintain a version of the Java OpenJDK, the reference implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and runtime for Java SE. The OpenJDK will also allow customers to run programs written in several JVM languages.
Azul has plenty of experience with Java. The company's flagship product, Zing, is a customized JVM for high-performance use that has been on the market for over a decade, with customers in the financial community.
The addition of Java shows that "Microsoft is serious about running any and every workload," on Azure, wrote Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst. "Azul is an excellent partner that knows open source and can really bring its Java knowledge to Azure cloud enterprise clients."
To date, there have been no commercially supported versions of the OpenJDK for Windows platforms, said George Gould, Azul's vice president of business development.
Oracle itself does not offer Java SE as a service on Oracle Cloud, the company confirmed by email. The vendor does, however, offer the Java Enterprise Edition as a service. Java EE is a Java platform with additional frameworks to ease production use of applications.
Other cloud services do have Java offerings, including CloudBees, Cloud Foundry, Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.