Microsoft prises open Azure containers, pours in a little Kubernetes

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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, temporarily 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. ®

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