Photograph by Adam Berry — Getty Images
By Barb Darrow
July 14, 2015

Google(GOOG)on Tuesday followed through on promises to make Windows Server a first-class citizen on its not-otherwise-very-Windows-centric Google Compute Engine.

Google Compute Engine, or GCE, already supported most of the Linux universe—Centos, Debian, SUSE, Red Hat(RHT) Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu—but now Windows-oriented shops who want to run their stuff on GCE can do so, provided they’re running supported versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2012. (A reminder that Microsoft is ending extended support for Windows Server 2003 as of Tuesday.)

In December, Google said this support was coming when it joined the Microsoft License Mobility program. That meant customers could start running Microsoft SQL Server databases, SharePoint document repositories, and Exchange Server mail on the Google cloud. It’s probably not a coincidence that this news is dropping as Microsoft is talking up its Azure cloud to thousands of business-focused partners this week in Orlando.

Letting customers bring their Windows workloads (and licenses) to Google is important as the company pushes for more enterprise adoption. It faces tough competition there from market leader Amazon(AMZN)Web Services, which has been around much longer and has made inroads from corporate developers to IT executives further up the food chain. And Microsoft(MSFT)which has spent billions on Azure, already has tons of enterprise relationships in place via its WIndows-and-Office installed base.

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