As application container adoption continues to grow, cloud providers are putting more and more effort into accommodating applications that use the technology.
Microsoft Corp. upped the ante today by adding support for Kubernetes to its Azure Container Service. Containers bundle an application and all of the software needed to run it into a single package that works on any operating system.
Originally released by Google in 2014 and open-sourced in mid-2015, Kubernetes is designed to ease the management of large-scale container clusters. It’s modeled after the Borg orchestration system that the search giant employs to automate its internal data center infrastructure.
The main selling point of Kubernetes is that it can help reduce the amount of manual work involved in maintaining a containerized workload. Developers may configure the framework to automatically provision additional infrastructure for their applications when demand grows, make sure that the load is distributed evenly and take action if something breaks. It also can streamline several other aspects of day-to-day operations including patching, which has traditionally been a painstakingly slow task.
The new integration that Microsoft launched today should make Azure Container more appealing to developers who rely on Kubernetes to automate their projects. Since the framework was one of the first of its kind on the market and remains immensely popular to this very day, that covers a sizable portion of the container adopters if not most of them.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is courting the rest of the community as well with support for Docker Swarm and Mesos, the two leading alternatives to Kubernetes. The technology giant claims that Azure is now the only public cloud that works with all three frameworks, which underscores its broader focus on giving users more freedom in how they use the platform.
Microsoft’s efforts appear to be paying off. According to a recently published estimate by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the company saw the revenue generated by Azure roughly double in 2016, to $2.7 billion. But it still has a long way to go before catching up with Amazon.com Inc., which has a more than 40 percent market share in the infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service categories. Amazon Web Services offers its own container service that supports Kubernetes as well.