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Azure Kubernetes Service: Product Overview and Insight

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Bottom Line

A feature of Microsoft Azure, Azure Kubernetes Service is a particularly good fit for large organizations using Microsoft applications and services—as well as those looking to support DevOps initiatives. The container management platform delivers a high level of automation along with robust monitoring and management tools for Kubernetes. It supports microservices using Visual Studio Code (VS).

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In December 2018, Microsoft unveiled numerous improvements to AKS. This includes more powerful autoscaling, support for JavaScript and Python in Azure Functions (a serverless compute service that supports code execution on-demand without explicit provisioning or a need to manage infrastructure). Microsoft also added Azure API Management Consumption tier.

Azure Kubernetes Service helps Azure customers deploy containerized applications fast while also using the industry standard Kubernetes for container orchestration. With Azure Container Instances getting rolled into AKS, Microsoft is providing industry standard container service without the operational headaches of managing the underlying infrastructure. With Azure Stack, organizations can seamlessly deploy container workloads in a hybrid cloud or multicloud environment.

Product Description

AKS is designed to handle deployment, management and oversight of containers within a Kubernetes environment. Microsoft aims to deliver these capabilities to developers and other uses that have no previous orchestration experience. AKS strives to relieve the burden of ongoing operations and maintenance by provisioning, upgrading, and scaling resources on demand, without taking applications offline.

Recent improvements and upgrades to AKS include cluster autoscaling for AKS. It allows users to add and remove nodes in response to changing workload requirements. AKS now works in conjunction with horizontal pod autoscaling. AKS provisions clusters using the Azure portal and Azure CLI, or with infrastructure-as-code tools such as Azure Resources Manager and Terraform.


Container Tool



Linux and Windows. Supports Windows images based on Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) versions.


Azure CLI, Azure Portal, PowerShell. Includes auto-upgrades, patching and self-healing capabilities. Supports Java, .NET and VS Code, .NET and Visual Studio, and Node.js. Offers Container Registry, which allows user to store images for DC/OS, Docker, Swarm, Kubernetes and Mesosphere.


Fully integrates with Azure and Azure Active Directory. Supports Terraform. Supports Azure Services, such as CosmosDB, using the Open Service Broker for Azure.


Virtual Kubelet can be used to schedule Windows containers on Azure Container Instances and manage them as part of an AKS cluster.

Networking and Security

Offers hypervisor-level security protection. Azure Container Instances guarantees that applications are as isolated in a container as in a virtual machine. Supports Kubernetes role-based access control (RBAC). AKS is compliant with regulatory and compliance standards SOC, ISO, PCI DSS, and HIPAA.

Monitoring and Logging

Azure hosted control panel includes control plane telemetry, log aggregation, and container health visibility built into a portal.


Free with Azure account.

ECS Product Overview and Features at a Glance:

Features Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
Supported platforms Kubernetes. Works with Windows and Linux
Key features Cluster autoscaling; Ability to add and remove nodes dynamically; works with Azure portal and Azure CLI; or with infrastructure-as-code tools such as Azure Resources Manager and Terraform.
User comments Users say the product has undergone significant improve-ments, including the ability to scale AKS.
Pricing and licensing Included with Azure account. Users pay for nodes and resources used

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