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Windows Server Containers Preview Now Available on Azure Kubernetes Service

Microsoft released a preview of Windows Server Containers on the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

The preview of Windows containers on AKS is a milestone of sorts because it means that IT pros can now use the same management tools and APIs for both Linux and Windows containers, according to Taylor Brown, a principal program manager for the Container Platform at Microsoft. It's possible to use a mix of Linux and Windows containers with AKS, he noted in Microsoft's Friday announcement.

Containers, an operating system virtualization scheme, typically get used by developers to spin up applications without conflict. Linux containers started the trend using Docker container technology, but now Windows containers adds another option. AKS uses Kubernetes, an open source container orchestration service originally fostered by Google.

The images used with AKS get stored in the Azure Container Registry, which stores them in the same datacenter locations as the applications. It also stores DC/OS and Docker Swarm images, and is compatible with Docker command-line interface tools. Docker Compose can be used to build an application and deploy it into an AKS cluster, according to Microsoft's tutorial document. Azure Monitor also can be used with the AKS service to show the health of workloads and clusters.

The Azure DevOps services, formerly called "Visual Studio Team Services," can be used by developers to work with the AKS service. Azure DevOps includes Azure Pipelines for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) automation of the software release process. Microsoft recently announced greater integration between Azure Pipelines and Kubernetes. Azure DevOps also includes Azure Boards for task and bug tracking, Azure Artifacts for managing code dependencies, Azure Test Plans for managing tests, and Azure Repos for Git and Team Foundation version control.

Microsoft manages AKS for its subscribers as part of the service. It may be somewhat complex for organizations to try to do it themselves, as Microsoft's recent "Troubleshooting Kubernetes Networking on Windows" blog seemed to suggest.

The preview of Windows Server containers on AKS is designed to work with the latest Kubernetes versions, namely versions 1.13.5 and 1.14.0. Kubernetes version 1.14 reached "production-level support for Windows nodes and Windows containers" back in April, according to a Linux Foundation announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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