After utilizing Azure Linux internally for 2 years and operating it in public preview since October 2022, Microsoft this week lastly made its distribution usually out there.
Azure Linux is an open-source container host OS for the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) that’s optimized for Azure and aimed toward making it simpler for builders to make use of Microsoft’s instruments to deploy and handle container workloads. That is principally it: Azure Linux is designed to be deployed within the cloud and run a number of containers.
For a deeper dive into the historical past of this Azure Linux distro, our developer website DevClass has a story on the subject.
The Azure Linux distro stems from the IT big’s CBL-Mariner undertaking, CBL standing for Frequent Base Linux. Microsoft began CBL-Mariner as a result of it wanted an inside Linux distro and a constant platform for the myriad workloads engineers have been operating on Azure, in accordance with Jim Perrin, principal program supervisor for Microsoft Azure Linux.
The Microsoft-customized open-source distribution “permits us to have a really outlined, very opinionated Azure focus and to tune the parts of the distribution to be precisely what we have to help a container host and attempt to maintain the dependencies, extraneously packages, issues like that to a minimal,” Perrin mentioned throughout a Q&A session at Construct 2023, the place Redmond introduced Azure Linux’s normal availability.
The “very opinionated” a part of meaning Azure Linux’s main function is as a container host for AKS. It is optimized for Microsoft’s Home windows Hyper-V hypervisor and runs in a digital machine (VM), supporting each x86 and Arm, he mentioned.
Optimized for Azure, however with some attain
That mentioned, it is bought some broad applicability.
“The Azure Linux container host supplies reliability and consistency from cloud to edge throughout the AKS, AKS-HCI, and Arc merchandise,” Microsoft wrote in a help web page. “You possibly can deploy Azure Linux node swimming pools in a brand new cluster, add Azure Linux node swimming pools to your present Ubuntu clusters, or migrate your Ubuntu nodes to Azure Linux nodes.”
The light-weight nature of the distribution is a key level, Perrin mentioned. The small footprint features a 400MB core picture and 300 packages, which Microsoft mentioned works effectively for each efficiency and safety.
Safety was a spotlight, Perrin mentioned in a weblog publish, noting that every one updates to the OS are run via an Azure validation checks and the suite of checks is consistently up to date.
“Moreover, since there are far fewer packages within the container host, the amount of required safety patching is decrease, and these points are patched promptly as effectively,” he wrote. “We intently monitor and totally curate the software program provide chain, which permits a better assurance of high quality and resilience finish to finish.”
These have been all good causes for Microsoft to develop its personal Linux distro reasonably than adapt one from Fedora, CentOS, or different commercially out there selections. The corporate borrowed code from a few of them however Redmond stopped wanting forking the distributions.
“Azure Linux is its personal separate distribution,” he mentioned.
About that little remark …
Historical past additionally performed a component in Microsoft’s resolution to go it comparatively alone, Perrin mentioned, hearkening again to a 2001 quote from then-CEO Steve Ballmer: “Linux is a most cancers.”
“Microsoft has form of a historical past with Linux,” Perrin mentioned in the course of the Q&A. “These quotes and that animosity are sufficiently old to drink now … however lots of the sentiment nonetheless lingers in the present day, so a part of the rationale that we didn’t select to begin with a distribution and fork it for our wants is we did not wish to be seen as doing the embrace-and-extend factor once more. We did not wish to wake any of that up.
“We figured, construct it from scratch. We are able to tailor it to our wants. We’re making the modifications as we have to and, frankly, it is form of what the Linux ecosystem is about. We’re scratching an itch we had and providing it again to the neighborhood.”
Numerous tech gamers have signed on as Microsoft companions for Azure Linux, together with Tenable, DataDog, HashiCorp, and Dynatrace.
Palo Alto Networks is supporting Azure Linux as an AKS container host via its Prisma Cloud, mentioned Derek Rogerson, senior product advertising supervisor on the community safety vendor, noting that the smaller picture measurement means better.
“The consequence for patrons is a lowered assault floor and useful elimination of time-consuming patching and upkeep that is now not wanted as a result of removing of pointless packages,” Rogerson wrote in a weblog publish.
Kubernetes Apps on the market on the Market
Additionally at Construct, Microsoft introduced that Kubernetes Apps, a group of third-party open-source choices for the AKS platform, is usually out there within the Azure Market.
Kubernetes Apps, which went into public preview in October 2022, allow one-click deployments, CI/CD automation, automated lifecycle managemant, and help. There are also versatile consumption choices.
The apps out there are vetted and authorized by Microsoft and scanned for vulnerabilities, a vital step at a time when the variety of supply-chain assaults proceed to rise.
All of this got here a couple of week after Azure Container Storage, a completely managed service for creating and managing block storage volumes for containers, was put into public preview. The software-designed storage service will higher allow enterprises to run manufacturing workloads on AKS, in accordance with Microsoft. ®