Microsoft Open Sources Azure Container Service Engine

Microsoft's Azure Container Service (ACS) Engine is now an open source project hosted on the GitHub repository, Microsoft announced Monday.

ACS is a service delivered from Microsoft's Azure datacenters that provides open source tools for managing virtual machine clusters. It's based on Apache Mesos open source technology and was built in collaboration with partners Docker and Mesosphere. The ACS service can be used by developers for dev-test purposes, since containers allow applications to run with their own virtualized OS, permitting applications to run without conflicts.

Microsoft first issued a preview of ACS almost a year ago, and began offering the service commercially in April of this year. Monday's announcement means users can now customize the Engine code. Microsoft is looking to add contributions to it from the community now that it's open source.

The move is yet another example of Azure support for open source container technologies, which originated on the Linux operating system side of things. However, Microsoft did promise back in April that Windows Container support would be coming to ACS at some point.

Microsoft also announced on Monday that ACS supports Kubernetes 1.4, although it's still at the preview stage. Kubernetes was developed by Google and is an "open source platform for automating deployment, scaling, and operations for applications across clusters of hosts," according to a Kubernetes "Getting Started" document. With the ACS support for Kubernetes 1.4, it's yet another choice for performing container orchestration across Azure virtual machines. ACS now has "deeper and native support of Kubernetes," Microsoft's announcement indicated.

ACS also now supports DC/OS upgrades to version 1.8.4, Microsoft announced. DC/OS is yet another open source platform for distributed systems. It adds management components for distributed systems that use Apache Mesos technologies. DC/OS version 1.8.4 in particular has "new virtual networking capabilities along with job-scheduling and Marathon-based container orchestration," the announcement explained.

Microsoft also announced some forthcoming ACS improvements. The service will be getting a preview of a new "Azure Container Registry" on Nov. 14, which Microsoft described as a "private repository for hosting container images." The new registry will be compatible with Docker Registry version 2, enabling common tools support. Users of the Azure Container Registry will be able to store container images in the "same datacenter as your deployments," thereby reducing network latency. The Azure Container Registry also will permit the management of Linux and Windows container images from a single registry, Microsoft promised.

Microsoft also will be bringing greater Visual Studio capabilities for deploying multiple container Linux applications using ACS on Nov. 14. Organizations will be able to use "Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and the open source Visual Studio Code" to manage those applications in "dev-to-test-to-prod" scenarios, Microsoft's announcement promised.

ACS improvements will get further discussed at the Microsoft Connect(); 2016 event for developers happening this month. Part of the event will be live-streamed on Nov. 16.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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