Microsoft now supports Google’s Kubernetes on Azure, and has open sourced a visual UI for it

A high-level architecture for a Kubernetes application. Source: Microsoft

That didn’t take long: Just a couple months after Google announced its open source Docker-management system called Kubernetes, Microsoft is already supporting it on the company’s Azure cloud platform. For two companies, Google and Microsoft, not historically known for their open source work, that’s a pretty impressive feat.

Aside from just enabling users to launch and manage their Docker environments with Kubernetes, Microsoft has also released a tool called Kubernetes Visualizer that graphically represents the Kubernetes architecture and terminology. Because it’s so new, Microsoft decided it was best to let Azure users see how Kubernetes organizes containers and components rather than try to learn solely by reading the documentation. The company details Visualizer in a blog post, and has released the code on GitHub.

Spinning up 200 Kubernetes pods using Microsoft's visual tool. Source: Microsoft

Spinning up 200 Kubernetes pods using Microsoft’s visual tool. Source: Microsoft

All the recent announced support for Kubernetes — from Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, IBM and even VMware — is of course great for the Docker project and the eponymous company driving it, but it also looks increasingly like one de facto standard by which large vendors will look to tout the openness of their cloud offerings. Whatever competitive advantages they think they have appear a lot less like avenues for lock-in if developers can move relatively easily among platforms and retain the same general experience of launching and managing applications. Factors such as price and performance might stand out more, as well.

For Microsoft and Google, especially, a groundswell of support for Kubernetes would be welcome news, indeed. They’re trying to steal market share from Amazon Web Services, which has owned the cloud market since it first launched its S3 storage service in 2006 but has also chosen to go it largely alone when it comes to industry-wide projects like this one. If Microsoft and Google can win over the next generation of developers like AWS did with the last generation, the hugely important but hereunto largely uncompetitive cloud computing market will look a whole lot different in a few years’ time.

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