Microsoft Azure has announced the general availability of its Azure Container Instances (ACI) – a serverless way to run both Linux and Windows containers.
The company had released a preview of ACI last summer which it described as “fundamentally changing” the landscape of container technology.
ACI runs independently of underlying hardware infrastructure, allowing users to rapidly deploy containers with no virtual machine (VM) management.
It also comes with per-CPU, per-GB, per-second billing.
The release comes amid a sustained growth of container use – which allows companies to squeeze more performance out of existing infrastructure.
Until recently, however, users had to designate the VM on which those containers would run if they wanted to run containers in the public cloud. (Slow and billed per-hour irrespective of whether you only need use for 15 minutes or so).
ACI is priced per second – and Azure has reduced prices to the below:
|Container group duration
|Memory: £0.0000038 per GB-s
vCPU: £0.0000112 per vCPU-s
|Windows software duration **
|£0.000009 per vCPU-s
Azure’s Corporate Vice President, Corey Sanders, said: “ACI provides a deep security model, protecting each individual container at a hyper-visor level which provides a strong security boundary for multi-tenant scenarios.”
“It can sometimes be a challenge to secure multi-tenant workloads running inside containers on the same virtual machine. Enabling this isolation without requiring you to create a hosting cluster is unique from other clouds and is a true cloud native model.”
He added: “Today, we see customers using ACI across a wide spectrum of scenarios including batch processing, continuous integration, and event-driven computing. We hear consistently from customers that ACI is uniquely suited to handle their burst workloads. ACI supports quick, cleanly packaged burst compute that removes the overhead of managing cluster machines.”
Many of Azure’s largest customers are using ACI for data processing where source data is ingested, processed, and placed in a durable store such as Azure Blob Storage, the company emphasised.
ACI enables each stage of work to be packaged as a container assigned with custom resource definitions for agile development, testing, and deployment. By processing the data with ACI rather than statically provisioned VMs, business can also potentially drive cost savings due to ACI’s per-second billing.