July 27, 2017

Microsoft launches new container service for Azure

The Azure Container Instances tool will charge customers by the second to access a virtual container.

Microsoft has today revealed the integration of a new container service with its flagship Azure cloud platform. Officially titled ‘Azure Container Instances (ACI)’, the launch of the container tool sees Microsoft throw down the gauntlet to its two major cloud computing rivals, Google and Amazon. Both competitors have existing container-centric services themselves, but experts claim Microsoft’s ACI is more advanced than Amazon’s EC2 Container Service and the Google Container Engine.

Container technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with general industry consensus pointing towards it being more efficient than virtual storage machines.

Over the past few years, Microsoft has been openly embracing the container format in its Windows Server software and its Azure cloud platform, evidenced by pre-existing features like the Azure Container Service and the Azure Container Registry. The company views ACI as the next phase in the evolution of cloud container technology. According to Microsoft, the ACI tool will provide a customer with a virtual container on a physical Microsoft server within seconds, with usage rates to be determined by the number of seconds a container is accessed.

While giving a brief description of the ACI tool, Head of Product for Azure at Microsoft, Corey Sanders, had this to say:

As the service directly exposes containers, there is no VM management you need to think about or higher-level cluster orchestration concepts to learn. It is simply your code, in a container, running in the cloud.

Along with launching the ACI tool, Microsoft has also announced today that it will be joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a Platinum member, for which the membership fees amounts to USD 370,000 annually.

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