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Microsoft Azure now offers open source ‘Linux Data Science Virtual Machine’

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Microsoft Azure marketplace now offers you ‘Linux Data Science Virtual Machine’ to let you analyse and maintain data on the cloud using Linux utilities.

Microsoft has announced the availability of the ‘Linux Data Science Virtual Machine’ on its Azure marketplace. The launch of the new Virtual Machine (VM) image emerges months after the arrival of the Windows Data Science Virtual Machine.

To offer a full-fledged open source experience, Microsoft has used the OpenLogic CentOS-based Linux version 7.2. The VM image also comes bundled with some useful data science tools that are touted to be used by data scientists, developers, educators and researchers.

“The Linux Data Science Virtual Machine provides you with a very productive Linux analytics environment where you can rapidly build advanced analytics solutions for deployment either to the cloud or on-premises or in a hybrid environment,” says Gopi Kumar, Senior Program Manager — Microsoft Data Group, in a blog post.

Microsoft Azure lists Linux Data Science Virtual Machine

Microsoft Azure marketplace lists ‘Linux Data Science Virtual Machine’

Apart from the standard Linux utilities and the shell, the new VM image has tools such as Microsoft R Open, Anaconda Python Distribution with Python 2.7 and 3.5, Jupyter Notebooks with Python and R kernel. The Redmond company has also provided Azure Command Line Interface to let you manage your existing Azure resources. Further, there is pre-installed Azure Storage Explorer, Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK), Vowpal Wabbit, XGBoost, Rattle and access to Azure ML.

You can use development tools such as Azure SDK in Java, Python, Node.js or Ruby or Eclipse IDE with Azure Toolkit plugin to work on the new Linux VM image. Moreover, there is an option to enable remote access directly through an SSH client.

Microsoft claims that you can start your data science VM and perform data exploration or modeling within just 15 minutes of its subscription. This seems to be in line of installing Linux operating system on a traditional machine.

You can use the new data science VM to perform some advanced analytics, build smart applications, run data science classes or even to host hackathons and competitions. It provides you full administrative access and leverages Microsoft Azure and Cortana to enable advanced analytics solutions.

Free to try for novices

So if you’re convinced with the features of the Linux-based VM image, you can add it to your cloud directly by visiting Azure website. You can also try it for free, with a 30-day Azure trial.

Why a Linux-based VM today?

Open source wasn’t the initial aim of Microsoft. But the swift growth in the world of computing devices has started influencing the software giant to develop new open source solutions.

In the last few years, Microsoft explicitly favoured Linux operating system and its community. And just earlier this month, its Windows 10 got Bash Command Line integration to enable execution of Linux programs.