Microsoft Corp. announced today the creation of a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Linux on Azure certification. Created in conjunction with the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, this certification represents one more important step in broadening the technology integration between Microsoft and the open source community.

The Linux on Azure certification will be awarded to individuals who pass both the Microsoft Exam 70-533 (Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions) and the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam. The certification will be issued by Microsoft and will be available starting today, Dec. 9, 2015.

The two exams combine Linux administration and Microsoft Azure implementation skills and will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to design, implement and maintain complex cloud-enabled Linux solutions that take advantage of Microsoft Azure’s extensive features and capabilities.

“The Linux Foundation is the leading organization representing stakeholder interests in the open source ecosystem. That, combined with its proven commitment to professional, distribution-flexible and performance-based certifications, makes it a natural choice for our partner for Linux on Azure certifications,” said Steven Guggenheimer, chief evangelist at Microsoft.

Companies want to realize the cost savings of the cloud and add value to their existing investments, which include a diverse set of vendors and technologies, including Linux and open source software. Azure is an open and flexible platform with a collection of building blocks that helps customers realize maximum value for their investments in the cloud. Customers can provision Linux distributions from the command line, including vendor-backed, endorsed distros as well as Azure Marketplace solutions.

“Today’s IT environments demand more from professionals than ever before, and the ones equipped to manage this new landscape look to professional certifications to rise above the rest,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “A Microsoft-issued certification that includes the Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin exam will most definitely allow professionals to stand apart from their peers and allow them the opportunity to work on the most interesting technologies of our time.”

Decision-makers in these organizations are looking for certified professionals who are domain experts in Linux system administration and fluent in a cloud-native world. At the same time, today’s IT professionals are eager to acquire and demonstrate the competencies to succeed in a cloud computing environment. This certification augments the system administrator’s skills by providing an objective measurement of the competencies that make Linux solutions thrive in cloud-powered environments.