Today’s application environments are often heterogeneous, composed of both Windows and Linux applications. Using Kubernetes to host containers on both Windows Server and Linux not only saves costs but also reduces operational complexity. Many Azure customers have demonstrated this with their usage of Windows server containers. Their success in our preview makes me thrilled to announce the general availability of Windows Server container support on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).
AKS simplifies the deployment and management of Kubernetes clusters and provides a highly reliable and available environment for your applications. It integrates seamlessly with world-class development tools such as GitHub and Visual Studio Code and is built on years of Microsoft security expertise focusing on data protection and compliance. With the general availability of Windows Server containers, you can now lift and shift your Windows applications to run on managed Kubernetes service with Azure and get the full benefits of AKS for your production workloads using consistent tools and processes. For example, you can create, upgrade, and scale Windows node pools in AKS through the standard tools (portal/CLI) and Azure will help manage the health of the cluster automatically. Running both Windows and Linux applications side by side in a single AKS cluster, you can modernize your operations processes for a broader set of applications while increasing the density (and thus lowering the costs) of your application environment.
Today, we’re also announcing the general availability of both private clusters and managed identities support in AKS. This further empowers our customers to achieve hardened security and meet compliance requirements with reduced efforts. Private clusters ensure that customers can create and use managed Kubernetes that only exists inside their private network and never on the internet. This network isolation provides security assurances that are especially important for regulated industries like finance and health care. In addition, Azure managed identities for AKS allows you to interact securely with other Azure services including Azure Monitor for Containers, Azure Policy, and more. With the introduction of managed identity, you don’t have to manage your own service principals or rotate credentials often.
Applying best practices makes it easier to optimize your enterprise Kubernetes environment and applications. We continue to develop more integrations between AKS and Azure Advisor, bringing industry best practices right into the AKS experience. Regardless whether you are new or a seasoned Kubernetes user, our customers receive proactive and actionable recommendations to secure resources, maintain cluster hygiene, and increase operational efficiency. These recommendations are based on our learnings from thousands of customer engagements. Likewise, we have integrated developer advice into the VS Code extension for Kubernetes and integrated security advice into the Azure Security Center. We are also focused on providing learning, frameworks, and tools to ensure developers, operators, and architects in every enterprise can successfully use Kubernetes on Azure. Putting all this together gives you more confidence in your use of Kubernetes even as you are learning the system.
We’re going through unprecedented challenges in the world today. I hope that these updates make it easier for you to secure and optimize your Kubernetes environment today, allowing you to focus your energy on your business critical projects. You can learn more about Kubernetes on Azure here.