Microsoft introduces a free, dedicated Azure Container Service for Kubernetes

Microsoft is rolling out a preview of a dedicated Azure Container Service for Kubernetes, but will continue to offer its existing ACS offering which will support other container orchestrators, too.

Microsoft's current Azure Container Service (ACS) for developing, deploying, and maintaining containers has supported Kubernetes since early 2017.

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Kubernetes has emerged as the open-source container orchestration standard. Microsoft says its Kubernetes support on ACS has grown 300 percent in the last six months. As a result, Microsoft is now introducing a dedicated Kubernetes container service. The new service, also called Azure Container Service, but abbreviated AKS (with the K standing for Kubernetes).

Yes, that means there are going to be two Azure Container Services going forward: ACS and AKS. And no, I have no idea why Microsoft didn't give the new Kubernetes service a different name.

Microsoft plans to continue to offer its existing ACS offering, which it initially introduced in 2015 and will continue to support multiple container orchestrators, including Docker Swarm and Mesosphere DC/OS.

AKS, which Microsoft is rolling out in preview today, October 24, will be free. Microsoft won't charge hourly for the management infrastructure; users will pay only for their Kubernetes agents.

Microsoft also made generally available today its Azure Container Registry (ACR). Microsoft is adding three new sizes plus a preview of ACR geo-replication.

Microsoft originally announced plans to work with Google on Kubernetes in 2014. Kubernetes is an open-source container cluster manager that provides automated deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers.

In April 2017, Microsoft bought Kubernetes container-orchestration specialist Deis for an undisclosed amount.

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