What is ACI? Microsoft’s Azure Container Instances explained

Azure is rapidly turning into a container-driven public cloud, with strategic investments in tools and hires. It’s also running fast, launching new container-focused products and services on a regular basis. At first, Azure was catching up with Amazon Web Services’ features, but the release of the new Azure rapid-deployment container service that acts as a bridge between platform as a service and infrastructure as a service leapfrogs Amazon.

Introducing container as a service

Perhaps best thought of as a new class of cloud platform — call it “container as a service”— Azure Container Instances (ACI) let you rapidly create and launch containerized applications, without any overhead and with an easily scriptable set of commands. Designed to work both on its own and with tools like Kubernetes, ACI adds container-management commands to Azure, coupling them with a billing model that’s based on per-second usage, with no need to create and deploy (and pay for) container hosts.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Azure Stack: Microsoft’s private-cloud platform and what IT pros need to know about it

Microsoft’s release of Azure Stack, an on-premises version of its public cloud, could be important for networking and data center pros for one simple reason: It gives customers a way to use a popular and familiar cloud platform without shipping their sensitive data into a multi-tenant environment.

Azure Stack is software from Microsoft that’s been certified to run on a select group of partners’ hardware and is intended to look and feel just like the Azure public cloud. In addition to providing a common management platform between the public and private cloud, Azure Stack is important for another reason too: none of Microsoft’s biggest public cloud competitors have anything like it.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft introduces Azure Stack, its answer to OpenStack

Microsoft has taken the wraps off Azure Stack, its take on hybrid cloud infrastructure and response to the popular OpenStack open-source cloud computing package. Azure Stack will begin shipping in September.

Azure Stack was originally designed as a software-only product, much like OpenStack. But Microsoft has decided to add integrated hardware turnkey solutions from its certified partners such as Dell EMC, HPE, Lenovo, Cisco and Huawei.

Microsoft first announced Azure Stack at the Ignite Conference in 2015 and formally introduced it at the Inspire conference in Washington, D.C.

Azure Stack is basically the same APIs, tools and processes that power Azure, but it’s intended to be hosted on-premises in private cloud scenarios. By offering the same platform and tools both on-premises and in Azure, the company promises consistency and ease of deployment, whether it’s hosted locally or in the cloud.

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Network World Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Azure Stack and the role of context

There were dozens of announcements at Microsoft’s Build conference last week, but perhaps one caused the most angst among the cloud cognoscenti.

I’m referring to the upcoming general availability of Azure Stack. Microsoft’s offering will let organizations leverage the Azure cloud operating system, but only within the context of an on-premises deployment.

Azure Stack has something of a checkered past — it has been announced, in one guise or another, more than once. I remember years ago the notion of a private cloud deployment that would involve Microsoft software and partner hardware. That never really eventuated, and things went quiet.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Microsoft consolidates its mobile management tools under Azure

Microsoft has consolidated its Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite of products under its Azure portal, combining its Intune mobile application management tools and its Azure Active Directory (AD) and Information Protection under a single console.

The move offers a unified admin experience aimed at bolstering enterprise mobility management efforts.

Microsoft introduced the EMS suite in March 2014, targeting businesses with strong mobile and cloud-first strategies.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Azure, AI, JavaScript headline Microsoft Build 2017

At its Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle this week, Microsoft will put its Azure cloud and Windows 10 front and center with sessions ranging from cloud services to artificial intelligence to programming languages.

The company will provide a road map for the Azure Compute platform and discuss how to use the cloud service for continuous delivery. Brendan Burns, co-founder of the Kubernetes container orchestration platform and the lead on Azure Container Services, will talk about containers redefining how reliable cloud systems are built, while another session will cover Windows Communication Foundation microservices in Windows containers for use on Azure. Build will also feature a session on linkage between the Node.js JavaScript platform and Azure.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft’s Azure cloud storage had a rough night

On Wednesday night into the early morning hours of Thursday Microsoft reported that its Azure cloud customers had difficulty provisioning storage resources, including in its Eastern US region.

The service disruption had a domino effect that impacted many other services too, including its cloud-based SQL database platform. The issue was first reported at 21:50 UTC and was resolved by about 6:00 on Thursday.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: What the AWS outage can teach us about WAN deployments +

“Due to a incident in East US affecting Storage, customers and service dependent on Storage may have experienced difficulties provisioning new resources or accessing their existing resources in the region,” Microsoft reported on its Azure health status page. Other services impacted include: Azure Media Services, Application Insights, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Data Factory, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Cache, Azure Search, Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hubs, Azure SQL Database, API Management and Azure Stream Analytics.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Azure Stack: Microsoft’s better plan for a hybrid cloud

Microsoft has long promised that it would deliver “Azure in a box” to customers who wanted access to cloud services but were unable to move workloads off-premises. Although Azure’s cloud services comply with many key business regulations, there are still companies that need to keep tight control of their data, whether for data sovereignty or for compliance with industry-specific regulations.

Microsoft will soon release its third “Azure in a box” iteration to satisfy those companies. First there was Azure Pack, then came CPS (Cloud Platform System), and now it’s the Azure Stack. With the release of a third technical preview and general availability sometime later this year, Azure Stack will replace CPS, bringing together an Azure-consistent software platform with managed third-party hardware.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Kubernetes rounds out Azure options, paves way for Windows Server Containers

Google’s Kubernetes container management system is now generally available for users of Microsoft’s Azure Container Service.

ACS support is one of a set of changes Microsoft is rolling out to broaden Azure’s container management options to be more open-ended and competitive. In a blog post, Microsoft proclaimed Azure “the only public cloud platform that provides a container service with the choice of the three most popular open source orchestrators available today.”

Bringing the power to all

Microsoft emphasized “choice” when it originally introduced Azure Container Service. Although it launched without Kubernetes, Azure initially supported Mesosphere DC/OS and Docker Swarm because the majority of Microsoft’s customers used them and the company believed they would be well served by the support.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing