Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Container Instances (ACI) to bring the benefits of serverless computing to software containers.
The ACI was released for preview in July last year. It enables developers to run Linux and Windows containers without having to manage any virtual machines, and provides automatic and elastic scalability.
The software containers already help developers and make their life easier, but they need to manage the virtual machines. The aim of Azure Container Instances is to remove the need of managing those VMs, and make the things easier and simpler for developers.
The multi-tenant workloads that run inside the containers on same VM can sometimes be challenging to secure. On that end, Microsoft has included a deep security model in ACI that protects the individual container at a hyper-visor level. What this security model in ACI does is isolating the containers without the need to create hosting cluster.
ACI will also support Kubernetes through the Virtual Kubelet, which was announced at KubeCon in December last year. The Virtual Kubelet integrates the existing features of Kubernetes connector and enables users to target ACI and works with other serverless computing platforms. Several companies including VMware, AWS, and Hyper.sh, are contributing to Virtual Kubelet.
The billing of Azure Container Instances will be done according to processing time and memory usage per second. Microsoft has currently set the price at $0.000012 per CPU-second and $0.000004 per gigabyte-second.
“ACI supports quick, cleanly packaged burst compute that removes the overhead of managing cluster machines. Some of our largest customers are also using ACI for data processing where source data is ingested, processed, and placed in a durable store such as Azure Blob Storage,” wrote Corey Sanders, Corporate Vice President, Azure, in a blog post. “ACI enables each stage of work to be efficiently packaged as a container assigned with custom resource definitions for agile development, testing, and deployment. By processing the data with ACI rather than statically provisioned virtual machines, you can achieve significant cost savings due to ACI’s granular per-second billing.”