Azure is rapidly turning into a container-driven public cloud, with strategic investments in tools and hires. It’s also running fast, launching new container-focused products and services on a regular basis. At first, Azure was catching up with Amazon Web Services’ features, but the release of the new Azure rapid-deployment container service that acts as a bridge between platform as a service and infrastructure as a service leapfrogs Amazon.
Introducing container as a service
Perhaps best thought of as a new class of cloud platform — call it “container as a service”— Azure Container Instances (ACI) let you rapidly create and launch containerized applications, without any overhead and with an easily scriptable set of commands. Designed to work both on its own and with tools like Kubernetes, ACI adds container-management commands to Azure, coupling them with a billing model that’s based on per-second usage, with no need to create and deploy (and pay for) container hosts.