In April of this year, Microsoft announced that they would be acquiring Deis to push Azure deeper into the Kubernetes playing field. Today, the company is announcing the fruits of that labor with a new fully managed Kubernetes service.
As is tradition with Microsoft, the naming of this service is a bit confusing. The company is calling the platform Azure Container Service but is abbreviating it AKS with the K being for Kubernetes. Here’s the thing though, Microsoft is keeping their existing Azure Container Service with the abbreviation ACS which means that there are two platforms called Azure Container Service but one is ACS and the other is AKS.
Confusing naming-scheme aside, the new preview of AKS is designed to make it easier to manage your Kubernetes environment on Azure with the ability to scale as needed. The company says that this new service features Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators. In short, you can get the benefits of this open platform without the overhead complexity required to operate the platform.
Microsoft is taking a slightly different approach to the fees it will charge for the service. On Azure, you will not be directly paying for the management of the infrastructure and instead, you will only pay for the VMs that are adding value to your operation. Microsoft pitches this as you only pay for what you use, not what the company uses for management.
This sounds like a good move as it allows you to get started with AKS for free but let’s be honest here, Microsoft has likely factored in the cost of each VM into the overhead cost of maintaining the service. The difference is that you will not a see a line item for management services with AKS but fret not, you will be paying for it one way or another.
Microsoft is betting big on Kubernetes with the acquisition of Deis but the company is not giving up on support for other platforms like Docker or Mesosphere. The company will continue to offer ACS support for these technologies but based on the wording in the announcement post, it looks as if the company is pushing ahead with Kubernetes but will maintain support for the other platforms.
The goal for Microsoft is to make Azure the best place to utilize Kubernetes and today we see the company pushing deeper into this realm. With the Kubernetes being open-source, Microsoft has to find a way to truly offer a differentiator to make Azure the preferred platform and seeing as they acquired Dies to make that happen, they stand a good chance of taking on Amazon and Google in this space.