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Microsoft continued its support for the Kubernetes open source project today, with the unveiling of several enhancements to systems that are designed to make it easier for developers to connect that system with the tech titan’s Azure cloud platform.

Kubernetes is an open source system initially released by Google that’s designed to help manage the complexity of creating and operating applications that are composed of multiple software containers.

First off, Microsoft open-sourced the Virtual Kubelet, which is designed to let customers connect their Kubernetes clusters to Azure Container Instances, a form of infrastructure designed to power container apps without requiring developers to tackle the provisioning of virtual machines.

Corey Sanders, Microsoft’s head of product for Azure Compute, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the Virtual Kubelet is designed to work with not just Azure Container Instances, but also other cloud systems that provide similar capabilities. For example,, a New York-based startup that offers per-second billing and serverless container deployment, is using the Virtual Kubelet to let their customers connect the popular container management system to that platform.

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But Sanders’ comments are also a clear nod to Amazon Web Services, which announced its own serverless container system last week at its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. At that time, AWS CEO Andy Jassy said that the company would work with the Kubernetes community to build the correct infrastructure. It’s unclear if the Virtual Kubelet will meet those needs, or if AWS will opt to create its own system.

Kubernetes applications now have an easier way to connect with Microsoft Azure services: the Open Service Broker for Azure, which uses the Open Service Broker API to connect applications with key services. Customers will be able to connect their apps to services like Azure CosmosDB, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, and Azure Blob Storage.

Microsoft also released prebuilt templates for creating Kubernetes applications backed with Azure services as part of the launch, so customers will be able to do things like easily spin up a WordPress installation that’s backed by Azure Database for MySQL.

In addition to all that, the company also unveiled Kashti, a visual dashboard for managing event-driven pipelines that manage Kubernetes clusters. It’s built on top of Brigade, an open source system designed to help developers automate Kubernetes processes based on events taking place.

All of this is part of Microsoft’s ongoing support for Kubernetes, something the company has prioritized as part of its cloud services. Brendan Burns, one of the cofounders of the project, currently works at Microsoft on the cloud team.

Disclosure: The Cloud Native Computing Foundation paid for me to travel to KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Austin, where this news was announced. Our coverage, as always, remains objective.

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