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Kubernetes on Azure: Industry’s best end-to-end Kubernetes experience

With Kubernetes exploding in popularity worldwide, it’s no surprise that Kubernetes usage on Azure has grown more than 10x over the last year. Customers love the agility, reliability...

With Kubernetes exploding in popularity worldwide, it’s no surprise that Kubernetes usage on Azure has grown more than 10x over the last year. Customers love the agility, reliability, and scalability benefits provided by container orchestrators like Kubernetes. Early reviews of our AKS, our managed Kubernetes service, demonstrate serious interest from customers of all shapes and sizes. For Build 2018, we’re thrilled to announce some big improvements to the Kubernetes experience on Azure.

Azure Kubernetes Service

To start, our managed Kubernetes service has been renamed to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). AKS is now officially part of the Kubernetes Conformance Program, designed to ensure consistency and portability of Kubernetes across different environments.

AKS made easy

We want every developer to try Kubernetes on Azure, whether they are familiar with containers or not. We have two new announcements that make AKS easier than ever:

  • DevOps Project support for AKS – with a few simple clicks developers can create a new AKS cluster, containerize their application, deploy with a VSTS CI/CD pipeline, and view integrated App Insights telemetry – all through DevOps Project.
  • New Azure Portal experience for AKS – we are thrilled to showcase the new AKS create and browse experiences inside the Azure Portal, which make it easier than ever for cluster operators to configure and manage Kubernetes.

Graphical user interfaces and wizard-based application onboarding help democratize Kubernetes and container technology for enterprise software developers, and we’re thrilled to provide these new, simplified experiences for Build.

New AKS features

Since we launched the AKS preview, we’ve worked closely with customers to help shape the future of Kubernetes on Azure. We are listening to your feedback and feature requests, and we are happy to share some exciting enhancements to AKS in time for Build.

  • Custom VNET with Azure CNI – Our most common feature request has been to have Kubernetes nodes deploy into an existing VNET. We are happy to announce that AKS now supports deploying Kubernetes nodes into custom VNETs using Azure CNI, with configurable IP ranges for Kubernetes networking components.
  • Integration with Azure Monitor – AKS is now integrated directly into Azure Monitor for control plane telemetry, log aggregation, and container health monitoring – providing operational visibility into your Kubernetes environment directly from the Azure portal.
  • HTTP application routing – AKS now supports exposing public applications natively, using an Azure-integrated Kubernetes ingress controller. AKS is the first managed Kubernetes service to support DNS endpoints for Kubernetes ingress resources, so customers can access their applications without having to configure DNS records and nameservers.
  • Private preview of Windows containers – Many customers have expressed interest in orchestrating Windows containers on top of AKS. We are happy to announce our private preview program where customers can get early access. Sign up here.

We have many more features planned before we announce the GA of AKS in the next few weeks. Yet while we are passionate about delivering an enterprise-grade Kubernetes service, we also realize Kubernetes and container orchestration is still too tedious for many developers.

Kubernetes for developers

Imagine you are a new employee trying to fix a bug on a complex microservices application consisting of dozens of components, each with their own configuration and backing services. To get started, you must configure your local development environment so that it can mimic production. Setup your IDE, build tool chain, containerized service dependencies, a local Kubernetes environment, mocks for backing services, and more. With all the time involved setting up your development environment, fixing that first bug could take days.

Or you could use Azure. 

With AKS and our new Dev Spaces capability, all a new developer needs is their IDE and the Azure CLI. The developer simply creates a new Dev Space inside AKS and they can begin working on any component of their microservice environment safely, without impeding production traffic flows. Thanks to innovative use of service mesh technology, a developer can work on any service in isolation by using a simple hostname prefix. Thanks to hot code swapping, developers can remote debug their application quickly, as code is intelligently synchronized from the IDE into live containers running inside AKS. Dev Spaces for AKS, now in private preview, makes developing against a complex microservices environment simple.

The best Kubernetes experience in the cloud

We are thrilled to see the customers so passionate about using Kubernetes on Azure. At KubeCon last week, we showcased open source developer tooling like Helm, Draft, and Brigade which empower developers working on any Kubernetes environment. Now at //Build we are showcasing enhanced versions these open source technologies – graphical interfaces, integrated monitoring, enterprise networking, and best-of-breed developer tooling – making Azure the best Kubernetes experience in the cloud. Try AKS today.