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Senior Editor

Microsoft Azure now runs Kubernetes, for managing lots of containers

Feb 21, 20173 mins
Cloud Computing

containers on barge
Credit: Thinkstock

Microsoft today announced that the open source Kubernetes container management platform is now generally available to control clusters of containers in the Azure public cloud.

Increasingly developers are, or want to, use containers when writing new applications. It’s a way of packaging the code that makes up an application into a container, which can then be run in the cloud, on a developer’s laptop or wherever the container runtime is supported.

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The problem thusfar with containers has been that when developers use a lot of them, management can be tricky. That’s where the market for container orchestrators has come from and one of the leading platforms in this market is Kubernetes.

Kuberntes is an offshoot of the software that Google uses to help manage its use of containers. Google open sourced the project in 2014 and since then its been donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which has cultivated a community that continues to build and develop Kubernetes. Last year Microsoft announced a preview of its support for Kuberntes in Azure cloud, and today Microsoft announced Kubernetes support is now generally available.

What does that mean? When developers are using containers in Azure cloud, they use the Azure Container Service to run the containers. When managing the containers, they’re now have three options: Use Windows Server Containers, use Kubernetes, or use DC/OS, the software from Mesosphere, which is another container orchestration platform.

Microsoft GA’ing support for Kubernetes is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives developers and organizations a fairly easy way to get started using containers in the Azure cloud, then if they want to take the next step of deploying containers at scale, they now have the option to use arguably the leading container management platform in Kubernetes to do so. That’s a win for developers and organizations, and a positive for Azure that it supports that use case. Arguably though Google has a better platform for running Kubernetes in its Container Engine – after all, they invented Kubernetes.

It’s also an important step for Microsoft. The company under CEO Satya Nadella says it’s committed to open source. It runs Linux virtual machines; it offers open source databases. And now, in the container world, which is driven by open source tools based on Linux, it’s adding the open source container manager Kubernetes.

Lastly, Microsoft is putting pressure on AWS in making this move. AWS offers its own Elastic Container Service (ECS). Sure you can run Kubernetes or DC/OS on top of the AWS Container Service. But, it’s not as simple of an integration as what Microsoft has launched with its support for Kubernetes. This move is a sign that Microsoft continues to put the pressure on AWS in the IaaS public cloud market.

Senior Editor

Senior Editor Brandon Butler covers the cloud computing industry for Network World by focusing on the advancements of major players in the industry, tracking end user deployments and keeping tabs on the hottest new startups. He contributes to and is the author of the Cloud Chronicles blog. Before starting at Network World in January 2012, he worked for a daily newspaper in Massachusetts and the Worcester Business Journal, where he was a senior reporter and editor of MetroWest 495 Biz. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @BButlerNWW.

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