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Microsoft prises open Azure containers, pours in a little Kubernetes

Azure Container Engine is now open source

By Richard Chirgwin, 8 Nov 2016

Faced with an increasingly untidy template-base in the Azure Container Service (ACS), Microsoft's decided the best way to get things under control is to open source it and let the community handle things.

Over here at GitHub, Redmond explains the open-sourced ACS Engine can generate Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates for three orchestrators: the Apache Mesos-based DC/OS, Docker Swarm, or – a first for Microsoft – Google's popular Kubernetes.

At the Azure blog, Corey Sanders explains that the Kubernetes 1.4 support is currently regarded as a preview release.

The ACS Engine is a Go-based template processor that supports community maintenance of a container cluster – and since both Microsoft's input and community inputs are open, Microsoft hopes to avoid different templates (its own and customers') drifting too far from each other.

Brendan Burns, assimilated by Microsoft from Google, writes that the integration means Kubernetes clusters can be created quickly from either the Azure portal or the Azure command line interface (version 2 of the CLI is now in preview).

Here's Burns' demo video of Kubernetes on ACS:

Youtube Video

The ACS can run clusters of up to 1,200 nodes; multiple agent pools with different VM sizes, node counts, VM availability sets, and storage specs; and it currently supports up to four disks per node. The release has support docs for Docker, Kubernetes and Swarm, and setup instructions for custom VNETs.

Microsoft says here, almost as an aside, that the ACS Engine lets users move workloads to or from Azure without code changes, which almost looks like a gauntlet to other cloud operators. ®

Update: Microsoft would like to emphasise that it isn't dropping the code into the world without its own ongoing input. Here's what Redmond said through a spokesperson:

"The goal of ACS Engine is to provide an open, community driven location to develop and share best practices for orchestrating containers on Azure. Microsoft's knowledge of running containers in Azure has been captured in that repository, but Microsoft will continue to improve and extend it as it receives contributions from the community. ACS is built on 100 per cent open source software, with the support of a thriving community ecosystem, and Microsoft wanted to continue building upon the spirit of open development." ®

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