At the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco today, Red Hat and Microsoft are making announcements that extend the partnership the two companies established last year, when Red Hat agreed to bring the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud.

Now Microsoft is beginning a private preview of its SQL Server 2016 database software on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. This follows Microsoft’s attention-grabbing announcement that it would be bringing SQL Server — which traditionally was Windows-only — to Linux. And just last week, Microsoft demonstrated another development in this domain: the ability to run SQL Server inside a Linux container using Docker Datacenter in a virtual machine with the Azure Stack on-premises cloud software.

“We would be doing this likely even without the partnership with Red Hat,” Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure’s chief technology officer, told VentureBeat in an interview recently. “The fact is, many enterprises are using Red Hat. We unblocked a ton of businesses when we made it available on Azure.”

Microsoft today is also announcing the 1.0 releases of the .NET Core and ASP.NET Core open-source software, and Red Hat is swiftly stepping up and announcing that it will provide support for running .NET Core on top of both RHEL and Red Hat’s OpenShift container-based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) software.

Also today, Microsoft is introducing a new Azure Resource Manager template that will simplify the process of deploying OpenShift on top of Azure.

The increased tie-up between Microsoft and Red Hat fits in with the former’s other partnerships with competitors, including Box, Salesforce, and Canonical. Surprising though it may be for longtime Microsoft observers, clearly the company has changed its views on working together with these rivals.

A blog post from Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s data group, has more detail.

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