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Google Kubernetes Service Adds Support for Windows Containers

Google is now previewing Kubernetes orchestration support for Windows Server containers housed on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), according to a Thursday announcement.

The support comes via the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which is a platform for containerized applications. GKE version 1.16.4, currently at the beta release stage, can actually run both Windows and Linux containers "side-by-side in the same cluster," Google's announcement indicated.

"Supporting Windows on GKE is a part of our commitment to provide a first-class experience for hosting and modernizing Windows Server-based applications on Google Cloud," the announcement added. "To this end, in the past six months, we added capabilities such as the ability to bring their own Windows Server licenses (BYOL)virtual displays, and managed services for SQL Server and Active Directory."

Organizations need to use Windows Server 2019 on the GKE cluster, but both the long-term servicing channel and the semiannual channel update models for that server are supported, per Google's documentation. Some Kubernetes features and GKE features aren't supported, though. Additionally, a Windows Server node requires "more resources than a typical Linux node," the documentation indicated.

Google also touted the use of various GKE support options. They include node auto-upgrades and the use of a regional clusters feature, which adds Kubernetes support in "nodes across multiple zones in the same region." It's also possible to use Group Managed Service Accounts for automatic password management, which is part of the GCP's Managed Service for Active Directory, which reached the preview stage back in August. Google also offers access to private clusters via its Virtual Private Cloud service.

Kubernetes, an open source Google-fostered creation, is a container orchestration solution that was originally designed for use with Linux containers, an operating system virtualization approach. Organizations might use Kubernetes in DevOps scenarios, such as the development and hosting of applications on various infrastructure without incurring specific hardware or software conflicts.

Other cloud service providers also offer Kubernetes as a service. In addition to Google's GKE, Microsoft has its Azure Kubernetes Service, which has support for both Windows and Linux containers. Amazon Web Services offers its Elastic Kubernetes Service, which also has support for Linux and Windows containers.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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