Microsoft's KubeCon News Includes AKS Support for Kubernetes 1.19

Microsoft unveiled several Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) product milestones during the KubeCon + Cloud Native online event, underway this week, including new support for Kubernetes 1.19, which recently became generally available (GA).

The latest version of AKS, Microsoft's managed container orchestration service based on the open-source Kubernetes system, adds Transport Layer Security 1.3 support, among other capabilities, according to a November AKS service update summary. Also, the AKS image is now aligned with the Center for Internet Security's (CIS) best practices security baseline.

As a consequence of the Kubernetes 1.19 support, AKS now supports the container runtime at the GA stage, supplanting Moby (which had used containerd as the default container runtime). Microsoft explained the change on this documentation webpage, and included a prediction that organizations are expected to see "better pod startup latency and less resource (CPU and memory) usage" with containerd, because it avoids the extra step of having to talk with the dockershim, the connector between docker and the kubelete node agent.

Organizations are advised to test containerd, though, if they stay on a version of Kubernetes below version 1.19, they'll be using Moby. 

Microsoft also threw a spotlight on the Kubernetes Event-driven Autoscaler (KEDA) project, fostered by Red Hat and Microsoft, which is now an independent community project and a force behind Function as a Service (FaaS) and event-driven programming.

"Though KEDA started as a joint project between Microsoft and Red Hat, it has rapidly grown to be a true community project," wrote Brendan Burns, corporate VP in Microsoft's Azure Compute group, in a blog post. "We have been thrilled to see KEDA expanded by community members to connect event-driven programming with Apache Airflow and Alibaba Cloud.

The KEDA community recently announced the 2.0 release, including improvements to the ScaledObject KEDA resource, as well as new scalers that make it easy to integrate KEDA into different workflows. KEDA 2.0 is generally available and ready for production event-driven workloads, Burns said.

Microsoft also revealed that its Xbox gaming service started using AKS for the Xbox Game Pass streaming service back in September. The new containerd and ephemeral disks feature additions that have aided the Xbox service by reducing latency issues, Microsoft said.

Also reaching GA in AKS is the maxSurge feature, which lets Kubernetes upgrades happen faster. Users can specify how many concurrent replacements can take place per node pool with maxSurge, instead of doing replacements one node at a time.

And the Ephemeral OS disk for AKS Agent Nodes is now GA. This capability results in "lower read/write latency," as well as "faster cluster operations," Microsoft has said.

AKS, which is available on the Microsoft Azure public cloud, is Redmond's service for organizations needing Kubernetes container orchestration support when spinning up cloud-native applications across clusters. These apps typically get built using microservices, and containers serve as virtualized operating systems for those apps. The aim of this approach is to rapidly develop applications and host multiple versions of them without conflicts, and without having to be concerned about infrastructure nuances and potential hardware compatibility issues. 

KubeCon is the flagship conference of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.