Microsoft Embraces Kubernetes With New Azure Serverless, DevOps Tools

Microsoft is bullish on the open-source container orchestration platform, announcing multiple cloud-based capabilities and new alliances.

Microsoft Kubernetes Components

Azure Container Service is now abbreviated AKS, reflecting its Kubernetes-centric approach Microsoft is taking in helping its business customers build and develop cloud-native applications. But the software maker isn't stopping there.

Using the KubeCon conference (Dec. 6-8) as a backdrop, Microsoft unveiled its latest efforts to bring serverless computing and DevOps capabilities to users of the open source container orchestration platform. Among them is the new Virtual Kubelet, a connector that allows users to target Azure Container Instances (ACI), a service that speeds the creation and deployment of containers on Azure.

"The Virtual Kubelet features a pluggable architecture that supports a variety of runtimes and uses existing Kubernetes primitives, making it much easier to build on," explained Gabe Monroy, principle program manager of Containers at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.

"We welcome the community to join us in empowering developers with serverless containers on Kubernetes and are proud that Hyper.sh is already joining us as a contributor," Monroy added. Hyper.sh is a service that allows organizations to spin up containers on demand with minimal setup and per-second billing.

Monroy also announced that Microsoft has open-sourced its Open Service Broker for Azure, allowing applications running in Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry and other platforms to tap into underlying cloud services like Azure CosmosDB and Azure Blob Storage.

Microsoft also announced an open-source tool visualization tool and dashboard for Brigade pipelines called Kashti, which means "kayak" or "small boat" in Hindi. Brigade is a scripting tool that enables DevOps teams to automate and accelerate their workflows by combining tasks and running them within containers in Kubernetes. Built as a Kubernetes Service, Kashti gives users a visual way of monitoring and managing their Brigade events using a web browser.

Hyper.sh aside, Microsoft's investments in the Kubernetes community has attracted a fair share of supporters.

Heptio is bringing Ark, a Kubernetes disaster recovery management and migration system, to Microsoft Azure. Heptio is led by CEO Craig McLuckie, co-founder of Kubernetes.

Meanwhile, Cloudbase, Apprenda and Red Hat have teamed up with the software giant to include beta support for Windows Server Containers in Kubernetes version 1.9. In a Dec. 7 announcement, Brendan Burns, partner architect at Microsoft Azure Container Service and a Kubernetes co-creator, described the move as "a major milestone that helps expand Kubernetes into the huge number of enterprises" that have made significant investments in .NET and Windows based applications.

The announcements were among many significant cloud-related reveals from Microsoft in recent days.

On Dec. 5, the company formally launched its Microsoft IoT Central product, a software-as-a-service offering that helps enterprises jump start their IoT projects. The company also announced the general availability release of its Azure B-Series instances for "bursty" workloads along with the preview release of new M-Series instances, the largest virtual machines available on Azure. Finally, the company launched Simplygon Cloud, a 3D content optimization for 3D and VR developers, on Dec. 07.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...