It’s happened again. Microsoft has joined yet another open source group. Whatever happened to Redmond’s long held belief that open source is a cancer? Times change, and evidently Microsoft has learned to change with them.
On Wednesday the company announced it’s joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a top tier platinum member. The foundation is a project of the Linux Foundation, where Microsoft is also a platinum member. According to CNCF’s website, the membership is costing Microsoft $370,000 per year.
“We have contributed across many cloud native projects, including Kubernetes, Helm, containerd, and gRPC, and plan to expand our involvement in the future,” said Corey Sanders, Microsoft’s partner director. “Joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is another natural step on our open source journey, and we look forward to learning and engaging with the community on a deeper level as a CNCF member.”
Although the foundation hosts at least 10 projects, including containerd and gRPC (which Sanders mentioned in his statement), the organization’s crown jewel is Kubernetes, which has become an essential element for managing containers. Having input into the direction of Kubernetes’ development is most of what Microsoft is buying with this membership.
Redmond considers Kubernetes an important part of both Azure and its Azure Container Service. So important that in May the company introduced Draft, an Azure tool to streamline application development and deployment into any Kubernetes cluster. And on Wednesday — the same day it joined CNCF — it announced Azure Container Instances for setting up containers without having to manage virtual machines or deal with container orchestration. If orchestration is wanted or needed, however, Microsoft has released an open source Kubernetes connector for ACI.