CloudCloud ManagementDatacentreVirtualisation

Microsoft Open Sources Azure Container Service Engine With Kubernetes

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Also adds Kubernetes to its Azure Container Service among other updates to ACS

Microsoft has integrated its Azure Container Service (ACS) with Google-designed Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration system.

And as part of Redmond’s drive to promote containerised software and (more recently) open source technologies, Microsoft also released the source code for the ACS Engine onto GitHub.

Container Software

Containers 2Containers of course are a popular virtualisation development option nowadays as it allows developers to build their software and then run it on any hardware, on any cloud, and in any environment without modification.

In April this year Microsoft opened its Azure Container Service (ACS) to everyone, and allowed users choose from Docker’s Swarm and Compose platform or Mesophere’s DC/OS (data centre operating system) to deploy and orchestrate containers.

But now Microsoft has gone one step further and announced a series of updates to ACS. Firstly it is now offering a preview release of Kubernetes 1.4 on Azure Container Service.

“This deeper and native support of Kubernetes will provide you another fully open source choice for your container orchestration engine on Azure,” blogged Corey Sanders, director of compute at Azure. “Now, customers will have more options to choose their cloud orchestrator with ACS providing support for three fully open source solutions in DC/OS, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes.”

It should be remembered that the Kubernetes open source container cluster manager was designed by Google in 2014 and then donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in July 2015.

Additionally Microsoft has upgraded ACS support for DC/OS to version 1.8.4. This new version includes flexible new virtual networking capabilities along with job-scheduling and Marathon-based container orchestration.

And Microsoft continued its recent open source moves with the news that it is releasing the source code for the ACS Engine used to create Azure Container Service deployments in Azure. The source code will be available on GitHub and should allow the open source community to see how Redmond deploys DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes. It also opens the ACS Engine for modification and customisation.

“We are seeing organisations of every size move their container-based solutions from dev/test environments to production in the cloud, especially as they discover the business agility opportunities containers make possible,” blogged Sanders.

Other Microsoft updates includes Azure Container Registry, which will be available in preview on 14 November. The Azure Container Registry is a private repository for hosting container images for use on Azure. So it allows users to store Docker-formatted images for all types of container deployments.

Another update concerns VS, VSTS and VS Code integration and deployment to Azure Container Service, to allow users to “easily set up continuous integration and deployment of multicontainer Linux applications using Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and the open source Visual Studio Code.”

“Azure is the only public cloud with a container service that offers a choice of open source orchestration technologies, DC/OS, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes, making it easier for you and your team to adopt containers in the cloud using the tools you love,” wrote Sanders.

Open Source efforts

Microsoft has been making some open source noise of late. Earlier this month it announced ‘Project Olympus’ – its hyperscale cloud hardware design. That uncompleted design was released via Facebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP), of which Microsoft is a member.

In August it open-sourced Powershell, its system administration and configuration management tool after posting the software on GitHub. And it already made its .Net technology open source, and open sourced an integral part of its Edge web browser.

Prior to that, Microsoft has had a chequered relationship with the open source community. In April 2015 Microsoft closed its MS Open Tech subsidiary, after launching the open source unit in 2012.

But despite that history, Microsoft has been making efforts to improve its once tense relationship with the community.

Late last year it teamed up with Red Hat to help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by giving them more choice and flexibility deploying Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure.

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