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July 27, 2017

Microsoft expands Kubernetes container strategy with CNCF alliance

More love for Linux and open source as challenge to AWS increases.

By James Nunns

Microsoft is joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, seemingly pointing to a formal endorsement to Kubernetes and an extension of Microsoft’s open source support.

The Redmond company has joined the CNCF as a Platinum Member, meaning that it will help to contribute to various open source tools that help developers to do things like build, monitor, and manage container-based applications, particularly through the Kubernetes project which is hosted by the Foundation.

“Microsoft is committed to helping organizations of all sizes achieve more, and we see cloud native technologies and open development as a way to enable this,” said Corey Sanders, Partner Director, Microsoft Corp.

“We have contributed across many cloud native projects, including Kubernetes, Helm, containerd, and gRPC, and plan to expand our involvement in the future. Joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is another natural step on our open source journey, and we look forward to learning and engaging with the community on a deeper level as a CNCF member.”

The move means that it is now only Amazon Web Services, the largest of the public cloud vendors, that has not aligned with the group, which already has the backing of the likes of Google and IBM.

What’s shaping up is a battle of AWS vs the rest. AWS offers its own Elastic Container Service, although it is possible to run Kubernetes on the public cloud giant and there’s been no sign that it is unwilling to work with the technology.

Read more: Microsoft forms Cloud28+ alliance with HPE

Aside from Microsoft’s continuing challenge to AWS for the lion’s share of the cloud market, the move is also an extension of the company’s continued love for all things open source, and paints it as the company for open source development, which it could be argued is a mantle that Google has laid claim to.

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The CNCF announcement came alongside the news that Microsoft has launched a new container service for its Azure cloud, called Azure Container Instances (ACI).

The now in preview service, isn’t the only container offering from the company, which is called the Azure Container Service, but differs by apparently being all about simplicity.


It’s designed to let developers to do things like spin up a single container with the user’s choice of memory, CPU cores and to be billed by the second.

The added simplicity comes from not having to manage VMs or needing to learn about container orchestration, which solves the skills gap issue. However, if orchestration is required then a user can tap into Microsoft’s open source Kubernetes connector that’ll allow for Kubernetes clusters to deploy containers directly to ACI, this’ll give developers the ability to pick and choose VMs and ACI as to their requirements.

Read more: Microsoft dives deeper into open source by joining Cloud Foundry

Currently only Linux containers are supported, another sign of Microsoft’s growing love for it, but Windows Containers will be added in the future.

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