It is difficult to go a day without hearing about container technology. And the most impressive announcements are still the ones about the growing adoption of Kubernetes. It was just two weeks ago that Docker announced native support for Kubernetes, and the multi-cloud story continues: last week, Microsoft launched AKS, a managed Kubernetes service on Azure.
It’s not a typo: ACS is now AKS
If you are familiar with Microsoft Azure, you might have heard about Azure Container Services (ACS).
Available since 2015, ACS has been Microsoft’s container hosting environment supporting today’s popular open source tools like Kubernetes, DC/OS, and Docker Swarm. Think of it as a bridge between the Azure Infrastructure and your existing container orchestrator: it simplifies the creation, configuration and management of VM clusters that are preconfigured to run containerized applications.
One of the advantages of Azure Container Services has been its support for multiple orchestration tools. However, the slight change in the acronym clearly shows that Microsoft is shifting the focus of its service: “ACS” becomes “AKS”, where “K” stands for Kubernetes. AKS provides managed Kubernetes on top of Azure, and it’s now made available for testing, evaluation, proof-of-concepts and feedback to Microsoft.
If the many benefits of Kubernetes still leave you wondering why, Gabe Monroy, PM Lead for Containers at Microsoft Azure explains it: “Kubernetes’ unique community involvement and its portability makes it an ideal orchestrator to standardize on. This comes as no surprise to Microsoft.”
Microsoft has indeed realized the power of open source, as it joined the Linux Foundation last year, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation this summer. And through the acquisition of Deis, a company at the center of Kubernetes innovation, the tech giant is now contributing more than ever to open source software development for Kubernetes. As for customers running other orchestration systems on Azure Container Service, like DC/OS and Docker Swarm: Microsoft promises to continue to support them, and it’s also working with Docker and Mesosphere on improved Azure compatibility.
What’s in it for your business?
If you run, or plan to run containerized applications on Azure, AKS promises the benefits of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead. It reduces the complexity by providing automated upgrades, self-healing and easy scaling with an Azure-hosted control plane, thus providing a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators.
It’s also worth mentioning that AKS is free, you only pay for the VMs that actually run your containers.
And when you move containerized applications into production…
…then you want this stuff to work, and work well. At least 99.99% uptime is expected these days, and considering that most of this technology is new on the market, that’s asking a lot from your IT operations staff.
A Docker container that crashes due to high traffic can render a downtime for the application running on it and affect the customers using it.
The nice thing is that there are already plenty of monitoring and management tools available to watch over your containers and container orchestrators. These monitoring tools have different approaches and features, from rudimentary to more full-fledged functions:
- Tools providing health checks of a Kubernetes cluster’s individual components
- Tools providing end-to-end checks of a Kubernetes cluster’s functionality
- Tools providing full monitoring insights into the hosts and applications you deploy with Kubernetes.
Dynatrace belongs to the last category, and the only solution on the market providing touch-free Docker container discovery and monitoring.
Dynatrace is also among the few ISVs to be Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud Platform competency and also a member of Microsoft Cloud Alliance.
This shows nothing less than our ability to meet Microsoft’s customers’ evolving needs in their digital transformation journey.