Tigera Previews Calico for Windows on Microsoft AKS

Tigera is making available a preview of open source Calico virtual networking and security software for running Windows in the Microsoft Azure Kubernetes (AKS) service.

Amit Gupta, vice president of business development and product management for Tigera, says the goal is to make it simpler for IT teams to apply a consistent set of networking and security policies across both Windows and Linux servers hosting Kubernetes clusters on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Calico has already been deployed on more than a million Linux nodes. It’s only been in the last year, however, that Microsoft  provided the capabilities required to run containerized applications on Windows servers. As the number of Windows servers running containerized applications inevitably increases, Gupta says it’s only a matter of time before IT teams look to standardize on a common set of policies for both platforms. In anticipation of that shift, Tigera last year made its implementation of Calico for Windows available as open source software.

Right now, there are more Linux instances than Windows servers deployed in Azure. However, given the number of organizations building applications based on the .Net framework, the number of instances of Kubernetes running on Windows servers should increase. In many cases, Gupta says IT organizations may look to deploy Windows and Linux on the same cloud infrastructure to reduce costs.

Microsoft is looking to drive adoption of Kubernetes everywhere from the cloud to the network edge via a control plane dubbed Microsoft Arc. As that effort gains momentum, Kubernetes clusters become a layer of abstraction that should allow IT teams to centrally manage what are becoming highly distributed computing environments.

Earlier this year, Tigera launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, based on Calico, for monitoring and securing Kubernetes environments. It encrypts data in transit, provides intrusion detection capabilities and employs machine learning algorithms to detect anomalies and generate policy recommendations that can be applied in milliseconds. Monitoring capabilities are enabled via Project Calico’s Dynamic Service Graph, which observes both microservices behavior and interactions at runtime to automatically identify performance hotspots. Previously, Tigera made available an instance of Project Calico, which can be integrated with any distribution of Kubernetes, that could be deployed by an internal IT team.

It’s not clear how many IT organizations will be deploying Calico on AKS as a technology preview, but once it becomes generally available, it will provide an alternative to commercial virtual networking software that many IT teams are employing to knit together disparate IT platforms.

In the meantime, most IT organizations continue to manage multiple cloud platforms alongside on-premises IT environments in isolation from one another. However, as the total cost of managing those multi-cloud environments continues to rise, it’s only a matter of time before IT teams start to unify the management of all those platforms to reduce the total cost of IT.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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