Microsoft beefs up Azure’s Kubernetes features and Red Hat integrations
Microsoft Corp. today introduced two updates for Azure, one focused on its managed Kubernetes service and another on Red Hat workloads, that should allow the cloud platform to better accommodate enterprises running a variety of different application types.
The container-themed update takes the form of a new version of Azure Kubernetes Service. AKS, as it’s known for short, is a managed implementation of Kubernetes hosted by Microsoft. AKS can now run not only standard Linux containers but also Windows Software containers thanks to newly added support for the latter application format.
The update will allow Microsoft to expand the addressable market for its managed Kubernetes service by targeting organizations that are building Windows-based containerized applications. Moreover, it should also be a boon for existing AKS customers, who can now manage Linux and Windows workloads using the same set of tools.
Microsoft also used the occasion to add a pair of security features to AKS. The first is support for managed identities, which allow applications to authenticate data they send to one another without using authentication tokens that can potentially be stolen by hackers. The other addition is the ability to use AKS in so-called private clusters that route data traffic over Microsoft’s network rather than the open internet.
“Private clusters ensure that customers can create and use managed Kubernetes that only exists inside their private network and never on the internet,” Azure computer corporate vice president Brendan Burns wrote in a blog post. “This network isolation provides security assurances that are especially important for regulated industries like finance and health care.”
The second update Microsoft announced today is for Azure Arc, a product that makes it possible to run Azure services on competing clouds and on-premises hardware. Microsoft today previewed integrations that will allow customers to run Azure services on infrastructure powered by Red Hat’s OpenShift distribution of Kubernetes and Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system.
Azure Arc will also provide features for managing those deployments. “Azure Arc enables customers to centrally manage, secure, and control RHEL servers and OpenShift clusters from Azure at scale,” Azure general manager Arpan Shah detailed in a blog post of his own. “Wherever the workloads are running, customers can view inventory and search from the Azure Portal. They can apply policies and manage compliance for connected servers and clusters from Azure Policy.”
The updates come against the backdrop of the virtual Red Hat Summit event being held this week. Red Hat kicked things off today by unveiling a new version of OpenShift with features for easing the management of Kubernetes clusters.
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