Microsoft adds Kubernetes support to Azure Container Service

Google's open source container orchestration software joins DC/OS and Docker Swarm

Containers have become a major fixture of modern application development. Companies are turning to the technology because it helps them more easily create portable, scalable applications that can work in a wide variety of environments, including the public cloud.

Microsoft is aiming to further capitalize on that trend with a set of updates announced Monday for its public cloud platform.

Azure Container Service, Microsoft’s cloud-optimized container-hosting offering, now supports orchestration using the Kubernetes open-source platform. On top of that, Microsoft has upgraded the service to use DC/OS 1.8.4, which brings improvements like built-in job scheduling.

The company is also releasing the ACS Engine as an open source project on GitHub. That will allow Microsoft to work with a community of contributors on the underlying source code it uses to create ACS deployments.

Containerization allows developers and operations professionals to put an application (or part of an application) inside a virtualized container that can be moved from a desktop to an on-premises server to the public cloud and back again.

These enhancements are key as public cloud providers compete with one another to host customers’ container-fueled application transformations. Amazon and Google each have their own container hosting services, and there are a fleet of other companies involved in the space.

ACS support for Kubernetes builds on Microsoft’s existing work to make DC/OS (which is built on Apache Mesos) and Docker Swarm compatible with its managed container service. It’s a move by Microsoft to more deeply support the open source container orchestration software that started as a project from Google.

The news comes after Microsoft hired Google engineer Brendan Burns earlier this year. Burns was one of the founders of Kubernetes and has continued to work on the project even after being hired by Microsoft.

The release of the ACS Engine as an open source project will let Microsoft and community members work on how the service interoperates with the three different pieces of container orchestration software. Microsoft will also be able to take community suggestions through GitHub to improve ACS.

On top of all that news, Microsoft also announced the open beta of Azure Container Registry, a service for hosting Docker images for use in its public cloud, which will be available November 14. New integrations that connect the company’s development tools with Azure Container Service will also be available that day.

Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and Visual Studio Code will get features aimed at helping users more easily set up the release of multicontainer Linux Applications on Azure Container Service. Container use can help enable rapid deployment of application changes, and these new features are supposed to help accelerate it further.

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Blair Hanley Frank

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