We are thrilled to announce that Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI is now generally available. Over the last 8 months we have made 5 public preview releases as we worked closely with customers, and responded to the early feedback that they provided.
You can evaluate AKS-HCI by registering here: https://aka.ms/AKS-HCI-Evaluate.
AKS-HCI makes our popular Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) available on-premises. It fulfills the key need for an on-premises App Platform in the Azure hybrid cloud stack that goes from bare metal all the way into Azure-connected experiences in the cloud.
AKS-HCI is a turn-key solution for Administrators to easily deploy, manage lifecycle of, and secure Kubernetes clusters in datacenters and edge locations, and developers to run and manage modern applications – all in an Azure-consistent manner. Complete end-to-end support and servicing from Microsoft – as a single vendor – makes this is a robust Kubernetes application platform that customers can trust with their production workloads.
AKS-HCI is an Azure service that is hybrid by design. It leverages our experience with AKS, follows the AKS design patterns and best-practices, and uses code directly from AKS. This means that you can use AKS-HCI to develop applications on AKS and deploy them unchanged on-premises. It also means that any skills that you learn with AKS on Azure Stack HCI are transferable to AKS as well. With Azure Arc capability built-in, you can manage your fleet of clusters centrally from Azure, deploy applications and apply configuration using GitOps-based configuration management, view and monitor your clusters using Azure Monitor for containers, enforce threat protection using Azure Defender for Kubernetes, apply policies using Azure Policy for Kubernetes, and run Azure services like Arc-enabled Data Services on premises.
No matter how you choose to deploy AKS-HCI – wizard-driven workflow in Windows Admin Center (WAC) or PowerShell – your cluster is ready to host workloads in less than an hour. Under the hood, the deployment takes care of everything that’s required to bring up Kubernetes and run applications. This includes core Kubernetes, container runtime, networking, storage, and security, and operators to manage underlying infrastructure. Scaling the cluster up or down by adding/removing nodes and cluster-updates/upgrades are equally quick and easy. So is ongoing local management through WAC or PowerShell.
AKS-HCI is the best platform for running .Net Core and Framework applications – whether your applications are based on Linux or Windows. The infrastructure required to run containers is included and fully supported. For Windows, AKS-HCI offers an industry-leading solution with advanced features like GMSA non-domain joined hosts, Active Directory integration, and WAC based application deployment, migration, and management. We want to ensure that AKS-HCI remains the best destination for Windows containers.
With Microsoft, security is not an afterthought. AKS-HCI is kept up to date just like any Azure service. Security updates for the entire solution including core Kubernetes platform, network and storge drivers, Linux and Windows container VM images, and other binaries are delivered by Microsoft. Hardened VM images, single sign on with Active Directory integration, encryption, certificate management, and integration with Azure Security Center are just a few features – from a long list – that demonstrate leadership in this space.
Customers are using AKS-HCI to run cloud-native workloads, modernize legacy Windows workloads, and/or Arc-enabled Data Services on-premises. As more and more Azure services become available to be run on-premises, AKS-HCI will continue to be the industry-leading and preferred destination.
Here’s how AKS-HCI is enabling digital transformation at one of our customers – SKF.
“At SKF we continue to execute our vision of digitally transforming the company’s backbone through harnessing the power of technology, interconnecting processes, streamlining operations, and delivering industry-leading digital products and services for our customers. Our focus is on digitalizing all segments of the chain and interconnecting them to unlock the full potential of digital ways of working for our business and customers. Our challenge in manufacturing area is that we have more than 100 factories, and we need to be able to provide them with an IT/OT platform that comes with speed, reliability, and low cost, while providing for critical production systems. SKF plan to standardize on Kubernetes as the primary hosting platform for modern workloads. AKS running both on Azure Cloud and Azure Stack HCI, and the fact that Microsoft has also chosen Kubernetes strategy running their other products, allow us to deploy for example Azure Arc enabled Data Services virtually on any of our new or existing environments. This gives us a tremendous jump start into Lean Digital Transformation of our factories worldwide.” -- Sven Vollbehr, Head of Digital Manufacturing at SKF
We are honored and thrilled by the trust you have placed in us and are excited to deliver innovation that empowers you – starting with this GA milestone.
Finally, we would also like to take a moment to thank the entire AKS on Azure Stack HCI team, who have worked tirelessly on this project amid the very trying and tough circumstances of the last year. It has been great to partner with all of you and to get to know you all better.
Ben Armstrong, AKS on Azure Stack HCI Group Program Manager
Dinesh Kumar Govindasamy, AKS on Azure Stack HCI Engineering GC
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