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Microsoft is acquiring Deis to make Azure and other services more container-friendly. (Deis Photo)

Microsoft said Monday that it has acquired Deis, a San Francisco company that builds open-source software to make the Kubernetes container platform easier to use.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group. (Microsoft Photo)

The acquisition is part of Microsoft’s overall vision to make Azure the best place to develop reliable and scalable applications. Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie wrote in a blog post that the acquisition is meant to make it easier for third-party developers to work on the company’s various container platforms, including Azure Container Registry, which became generally available last week.

“Paired with their cloud leadership and unambiguous support for open-source software, we are impressed by the breadth, depth and reach of Microsoft to help define, shape and build new cloud-native applications,” Gabe Monroy, chief technology officer of Deis wrote in a blog post. “We look forward to making Azure the best place to run containerized workloads.

Container technology such as Docker has become a critical tool in developing software in the cloud era, packaging up the components of an app to seamlessly run across different platforms and devices. Orchestration technologies like Kubernetes manage the deployment of those software packages.

Microsoft’s support for container software is increasingly important to the competitiveness of its cloud offerings, as customers look to container technology to make the most of their cloud-based applications. Microsoft made a promise last November to offer broad support for Kubernetes, and doubled down on that plan in February. The Deis acquisition is another step in that direction.

Google, one of Microsoft’s cloud rivals, originally designed Kubernetes and donated it to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015.

Application containers — and orchestration services to support them — represent a massive opportunity. According to a January report from New York-based 451 Research, the application container market will grow from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020.

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