Contain yourselves: Kubernetes for Azure unleashed on world+dog

Microsoft: Plz park your containers in our cloud K thx

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Container fans, rejoice! Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is now generally available, having been in preview since October.

The service, now available in 10 regions, joins the Google Kubernetes Service (GKS) and Amazon's Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) as a way of allowing developers to deploy, scale and manage container applications on their respective vendor's cloud.

Microsoft, of course, really wants developers to use its cloudy Azure service, and will point to the addition of Kubernetes as further evidence of its commitment to coders and open source.

AKS compares well to the competition. Creating a Kubernetes cluster is straightforward via either the command line or a graphical portal. However, unlike Google's service, AKS requires that the user scales things up and down manually as required. Other standards such as Docker image support and GPU nodes all come in the shiny new AKS box.

Tirumarai Selvan, a senior engineer at Hasura.io, an outfit running large Kubernetes clusters, has put together a comparison of the three main vendors and found much to like in AKS, although ultimately preferred GKE's onboarding.

Selvan told The Register: "AKS was pretty smooth. What I like about AKS is its solid upstream contribution and add-on features like service catalog and virtual kubelet," but raised concerns about High Availability of master nodes. AKS does support HA on worker nodes.

Brendan Burns, a co-founder of the Kubernetes project and now a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, professed himself to be "super excited" about the release, before extolling developer empowerment in a manner recalling a sweaty man shouting "developers, developers, developers" on stage, many years ago.

Certainly, Microsoft has gone to some effort to make the service attractive to coders, with Visual Studio integration and the ability to debug containers directly in AKS.

Burns also highlighted the growth of Kubernetes on Azure, with 5x the customers and 10x the usage from a year ago. He did not, however, provide actual figures for the last 12 months.

He went on to praise the 70 Microsoft employees who contributed to the open-source Kubernetes project. Not too shabby, but still quite some way behind the likes of Google, who kicked the whole thing off back in 2014.

With the current caring and sharing ethos rattling around the corridors of Redmond, that figure will continue to rise. ®

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