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Introducing AKS (managed Kubernetes) and Azure Container Registry improvements

Today, we are proud to announce the preview of Azure Container Service (AKS), our new managed Kubernetes service. We have seen customers fall in love with our current Kubernetes support on Azure…

Today, we are proud to announce the preview of AKS (Azure Container Service), our new managed Kubernetes service. We have seen customers fall in love with our current Kubernetes support on Azure Container Service, currently known as ACS, which has grown 300% in the last six months. Now with the preview of AKS, we are making it even easier to manage and operate your Kubernetes environments, all without sacrificing portability. This new service features an Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators. With AKS, customers get the benefit of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead.

Notice in the demo below how easy it is to provision a new AKS cluster, upgrade the cluster from Kubernetes 1.7.7 to 1.8.1, and scale the cluster from 3 to 10 nodes.


To help you get started, AKS is free. You only pay for the VMs that add value to your business. Unlike other cloud providers who charge an hourly rate for the management infrastructure, with AKS you will pay nothing for the management of your Kubernetes cluster, ever. After all, the cloud should be about only paying for what you consume. View a video on why AKS is right for you and try AKS for free today. 

While Azure Container Service has been available since 2015 with support for multiple container orchestrators, these new features and innovative pricing are focused on Kubernetes, which has emerged as the open source standard for container orchestration. Kubernetes unique community involvement and its portability makes it an ideal orchestrator to standardize on. This comes as no surprise to Microsoft. Brendan Burns, co-creator of Kubernetes, now leads Azure’s container efforts. Earlier this year Microsoft acquired Deis, a company at the center of Kubernetes innovation. More than ever, Microsoft is contributing upstream to Kubernetes and developing innovative software like Draft to make Kubernetes easier to use for developers.  Given this deepening focus on Kubernetes, we will refer to our managed Kubernetes service as AKS.

For example, here is how you can easily create a new Kubernetes cluster using the Azure CLI:

az aks create –n myCluster –g myResourceGroup

We also see continued interest in other orchestrator deployments such as Docker Enterprise and Mesosphere DC/OS, including MetLife and ESRI.  As a result, we will continue to support the existing ACS deployment engine in Azure for simple creation of popular open source container solutions. To address the needs of our mutual customers, we are continuing to work with Docker and Mesosphere to offer enhanced integration of their enterprise offers in our Azure Marketplace. The Azure Marketplace provides the same easy deployment as ACS, while adding easy in-place upgrades to enterprise editions, which offer value-added commercial features and 24×7 support.

In addition to the launch of AKS, we’re announcing today the general availability of managed SKUs Azure Container Registry (ACR). ACR provides a private registry that scales to your needs through three new sizes. To provide scale across the global footprint of Azure, we’re also announcing the preview of ACR geo-replication. Through the click of a map, customers can now manage a single registry, replicated across any number of regions. Any push/pull of a container image to ACR will be routed to the closest registry. ACR geo-replication enables customers to manage their global deployments as one entity. Geo-replication is a first of its kind feature catering to customers who operate at global scale, further separating Azure from competitors with much smaller global footprints. View a video showing how you can leverage geo-replication and deploy regions as images arrive.

This is an exciting moment for Azure and our customers. We look forward to both customers and partners building atop our new managed Kubernetes service.