Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) GA – New regions, more features, increased productivity

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and as I approach two years working on containers in Azure, I see the truth in that saying. Over the last two years we have launched a Kubernetes service in Azure, acquired Deis, joined the Linux foundation, launched the Draft and Brigade open source projects, launched the first serverless container infrastructure in the major public clouds, and most recently acquired GitHub where Kubernetes was born. We’ve also seen incredible growth in Kubernetes on Azure, with five times the number of customers and ten times the usage of a year ago. To say that the excitement never ends at Microsoft and Azure is an understatement!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to announce that the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is now generally available. We are also adding five new regions including Australia East, UK South, West US, West US 2, and North Europe. AKS is now generally available in ten regions across three continents, and we expect to add ten more regions in the coming months!

With AKS in all these regions, users from around the world, or with applications that span the world, can deploy and manage their production Kubernetes applications with the confidence that Azure’s engineers are providing constant monitoring, operations, and support for our customers’ fully managed Kubernetes clusters. Azure was also the first cloud to offer a free managed Kubernetes Service and we continue to offer it for free in GA. We think you should be able to use Kubernetes without paying for our management infrastructure.

Going from preview to general availability requires dedication and hard work by both the AKS engineering team as well as the customers who volunteered their time and patience to try out our new service. I’m extremely grateful to everyone inside and outside of Microsoft who contributed their time to improving AKS and making the general availability possible. The product that we ship today is better because of your hard work. Thank you!

In addition to the work on AKS, the team has also been engaged with the upstream open source Kubernetes community. With open source, it is insufficient to just consume software, it is critical to be engaged with and contributing to the projects that you use. Consequently, I’m incredibly proud of the nearly seventy Microsoft employees who have made contributions to Kubernetes.

The Kubernetes API is just the beginning. From its inception, a core component of Microsoft’s DNA has been building the platforms to empower and enable developers to become more productive. It has been awesome to see this heritage pull through into a new generation of tools to enable builders of cloud native applications. As we showed this past May at the Microsoft Build conference, Azure is the most complete and capable cloud for cloud native application development. On Azure, our tools make it easier to build and debug your containerized applications with Kubernetes. To make this even better, we’re excited to announce even more features now available in all AKS regions including Kubernetes role-based access control (RBAC), Azure Active Directory based identity, the ability to deploy clusters into pre-existing custom virtual networks, and more. Furthermore, you can even deploy and manage your clusters using both open source tools like Terraform and Azure’s own Resource Manager templates. Come check them out!

In addition to making Azure an industry leading place to run Kubernetes, we are also strongly committed to giving back to the Kubernetes user community, no matter where they want to run Kubernetes. To that end:

  • We lead and support the development of the Helm package manager for Kubernetes, which was recently elevated to be a top-level project in the Cloud Native Compute Foundation.
  • We have built and released Draft and Brigade to make Kubernetes more approachable for novice users.
  • We continue to improve the Kubernetes plugins for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code, enabling an intuitive, easy to use integration between development and operations environments.
  • These integrations extend into DevOps tools where you can simply integrate AKS into your favorite CI/CD tools such as Jenkins and Visual Studio Team Services.
  • Additionally, with our work on the virtual kubelet, we are leading a cross-industry effort that brings Kubernetes management to environments without VMs using innovative technology like Azure Container Instances.

All of this work wouldn’t mean anything unless we delivered a useful service that meets users where they are and enables them to achieve great things. It’s awesome to see companies like Maersk, Siemens, and Varian Health find success using Kubernetes on Azure.

As proud as I am about everything that the Azure Kubernetes team has done to get us to this point, I’m even more excited to see what production applications our customers build on top of our production-grade, worldwide Azure Kubernetes Service. As for the team, we’re already hard at work on the next set of exciting features for all our AKS users and Kubernetes friends around the world!

If you want to learn more, I encourage you to come create a cluster, deploy some applications, and see what Azure Kubernetes Service has to offer, or try out one of our sample apps.

 

Thanks!

Brendan

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