Microsoft, at its recent Microsoft Build 2019 conference, launched a series of efforts intended to make it easier for organizations to embrace best DevOps practices, including making it possible to address both continuous integration and continuous delivery within the same YAML file using Azure Pipelines.
Microsoft also announced it will extend Azure Pipelines to provide tighter integration between GitHub, which Microsoft acquired last year, and Kubernetes. Via that integration, Azure Pipelines can be used to automate everything from creating container images and packaging them as Helm charts to generating Kubernetes deployment artifacts and then deploying the workload.
Continuing that Kubernetes theme, Microsoft also is launching the Kubernetes-based Event Driven Autoscaling (KEDA) project, which makes it possible to run Azure functions on top of Kubernetes clusters. Developed in collaboration with Red Hat, KEDA is available in developer preview for the Red Hat OpenShift platform based on Kubernetes.
In addition, Microsoft has extended the Azure IoT Edge runtime to Kubernetes to enable internet of things (IoT) applications to be deployed on Kubernetes and Azure SQL DB Edge, which is packaged as a container and makes it possible to deploy a database on ARM or x86 systems deployed at the network edge.
Also during the conference, Microsoft launched MLOps, which applies DevOps principles to deploying artificial intelligence (AI) models using the GitOps workflow; Azure SQL Database Serverless, which allows organizations to consume a database service on a per-second billing basis on the Azure cloud; and ML.net, a framework for building AI models.
Microsoft also announced it is now making available a full Linux subsystem within Windows 10 and the ability to link IoT devices to the Azure cloud without writing code.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for AI and cloud at Microsoft, told conference attendees Microsoft is squarely focused on making it easier to build applications that can be deployed in hybrid cloud computing environments anchored around the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Microsoft historically has focused on making it much easier to consume emerging technologies at the point in time they start to appeal to the broadest number of customers. As DevOps best practices continue to find mainstream adoption, that same philosophy is being applied to cloud services. Microsoft may not have invented the concept of CI/CD, but it is working to make it easier for organizations that have struggled to implement continuous delivery, for example, to master that challenge. The same concept applies to Kubernetes, which some argue is still too complex for the average IT organization to master and deploy.
It remains to be seen how much Microsoft’s efforts, most of which are only available as previews, will result in more applications being deployed on Azure. Because an application is built on a public cloud doesn’t always mean it will be deployed on that cloud. It does, however, increase the chances of that occurring. In fact, providing a better DevOps experience across a hybrid cloud computing environment is clearly key to Microsoft’s strategy as it seeks to gain ground on Amazon Web Services (AWS).