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Kubernetes on Windows nodes hits GA in Rancher, Amazon EKS


Kubernetes on Windows broadens platform’s reach

IT pros said Kubernetes on Windows support will prompt them to evaluate the open source container orchestration framework, now the de facto standard for cloud-native apps, for a broader set of legacy applications.

“Previously, we skipped over these because Linux-based applications were the easier, lower-hanging fruit,” said Rancher user Matthew Esser, product owner of container services and infrastructure at Viasat, a satellite telecommunications company in Carlsbad, Calif. “Support for a more ephemeral Windows deployment model enables things like test environments to be candidates for Kubernetes. … I also suspect that as container support for Windows matures, more applications that rely on Windows libraries to run will start to crop up in Kubernetes environments.”

Microsoft itself has wholeheartedly embraced Linux for newer applications, through .NET Core. A Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 feature called Windows Subsystem for Linux allows Linux executables to run directly alongside their Windows counterparts on the same machine.

For some IT shops, then, Kubernetes for Windows will be a temporary measure to support applications that haven’t yet moved to Linux, but soon will.

“We could use Windows Kubernetes support for Octopus Deploy, if it doesn’t move to .NET Core before we move to Rancher 2.3,” said David Sanftenberg, DevOps engineer at Cardano Risk Management Ltd., a U.K.-based division of Cardano Group, a financial services corporation headquartered in the Netherlands. “We’ve moved to Linux otherwise, including our front end.”

But it will be years before that kind of transition happens in most enterprise data centers, enterprise IT consultants said.

“The whole Windows ecosystem that exists to support Active Directory, IIS, etc., is a force to be reckoned with. … I don’t think it will be a temporary measure for most,” said Chris Riley, cloud delivery director responsible for DevOps at Cprime Inc., an Agile software development consulting firm in San Mateo, Calif. “Enterprises that have adopted Windows also have the administrative muscle to support it appropriately, and won’t be interested in making a wholesale OS switch unless there are cost [benefits] that they can achieve.”

Kubernetes for Windows also still has limitations beyond the Linux master node issue. Privileged containers, used “It’s still early in the game for Windows containers, and honestly, we are going to just have to wait it out to see how it starts to mature before putting a large effort behind it,” Viasat’s Esser said.


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