MS Open Tech with Packer.io, OpenNebula, Docker, Kubernetes – all on Microsoft Azure – it’s Cloud Interop at OSCON

Jean PaoliAt the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), Microsoft Open Technologies is forging new partnerships with open source communities as new cloud scenarios unfold daily in rapid development cycles. Today, we’re proud to announce two new partnerships – Packer.io and OpenNebula – to enable interoperability of applications and services across different technology providers. These partnerships complement a diverse set of open source solutions recently brought to Microsoft technologies including Docker’s libswarm project and Kubernetes, two cluster-management solutions available for Docker containers, and several other open source cloud projects.

As part of our partnership with Packer.io, we are introducing two Packer plug-ins for Microsoft Azure and Hyper-V, natively supporting Microsoft technologies for the first time. Packer is an open source tool for creating identical machine images for multiple platforms from a single source configuration.

  • Developers and IT pros can now use Packer to generate machine images and then launch completely provisioned and configured machines quickly and easily on Windows Server.
  • Support for Microsoft Azure is just around the corner, enabling Packer to create a customized virtual machine image that can be saved to Azure blob storage and then launched to Azure infrastructure services quickly and easily.

“This partnership is a great step in the direction of a simpler development and deployment process for developers. We are excited to work with Microsoft and others to enable support and provide the tools needed for efficiently managing private and public cloud infrastructure,” said Mitchell Hashimoto, founder of HashiCorp, creator and project lead of Vagrant and Packer.

Packer is lightweight, runs on every major operating system, and is highly performant, creating machine images for multiple platforms in parallel. Packer does not replace configuration management like Chef or Puppet for which Microsoft announced support at Build a few months ago. In fact, when building images, Packer is able to use tools like Chef or Puppet to install software onto the image.

As a result of a collaboration between Microsoft and OpenNebula (C12G Labs), we are introducing a new set of plug-ins to enable the use of OpenNebula for building hybrid cloud deployments on Microsoft Azure. OpenNebula provides a simple but feature-rich and flexible solution for the management of virtualized data centers to enable on-premise IaaS clouds.

  • With this set of plug-ins, IT pros and system integrations can use OpenNebula’s rich set of infrastructure management tools to manage cloud deployments across Microsoft’s private, public and hosted cloud platforms.

OpenNebula is an open, adaptable and extensible architecture with interfaces and components to build and manage your customized cloud service and make cloud operations conform to existing policies. With cloud interoperability, OpenNebula provides cloud users with choice across standards and most popular cloud interfaces.

"We believe in the coexistence of the private and public cloud, and all the team is excited about giving the OpenNebula users using the hybrid model the possibility of on-demand access to a leading cloud provider like Microsoft Azure," said Rubén S. Montero, Chief Architect of the OpenNebula project.

These two partnerships are part of our overall goal to simplify development and deployment experience, and we are continuing to create other strategic partnerships that will help us deliver open, flexible environments to the developers that need more to be nimble when building for a wide array of cloud scenarios.

Recently, Microsoft announced that developers can deploy their Docker containers into Linux virtual machines using the cross-platform command line tools. Additionally, we are supporting Docker’s libswarm project, which offers imperative management on Docker, so that libswarm will natively support Microsoft Azure in enabling deployment of containers on Microsoft Azure virtual machines. Libswarm extends the Docker API to simplify management of large clusters of Docker containers across one or more virtual machines.

“Using Docker, developers write their apps once and then get the flexibility to deploy to any environment - bare metal, virtual, or cloud - as well as move between these environments,” said Solomon Hykes, CTO and founder, Docker.  “We’re excited about Microsoft Azure’s support for Dockerized applications and participation in the libswarm orchestration project, as it gives developers of Docker-based distributed apps another great cloud platform to frictionlessly deploy to."

We also just announced support of Kubernetes, a cluster-management solution for Docker containers. MS Open Tech is contributing to the GitHub project to enable its management capabilities on top of Microsoft Azure Linux virtual machines.

Customers and developers are telling us that efficient software development requires consistent workflows that optimize each stage of development. And they want it secure.

Now because of these partnerships, Linux virtual machines on Microsoft Azure can be used as a secure high-performance environment for hosting Docker containers at web scale, and those containers can be managed by a combination of libswarm and Kubernetes and can be connected using OpenNebula.

We like to say “change is a developer’s friend”…as long as the disruption is minimized. In today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world, open platforms are creating new opportunities and creating unexpected partnerships in the industry. Openness is how Microsoft does business – building open platforms that bring value to our customers, partners and developers.

If you’re attending OSCON, visit our Microsoft folks on the Expo Hall floor or attend one of our sessions. You also can read more about our open source collaborations and tutorials on our related DevOps Project page of our website.

Take advantage of these new plug-ins and simplify the management of your private and public cloud infrastructure. Tell us what you think – we’re open to new ideas and partnerships.

Jean Paoli, President, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.


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    • @Ciprian – yes there are limitations with interoperability of the Packer-Azure work at present. You are correct that it is Windows and PowerShell focused right now. However, please continue to watch the repo, we are still working on it.

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