Microsoft is not just a Windows company. He now runs several Linux distributions along with his own operating systems. It’s important to remember that these aren’t general-purpose Linux like Ubuntu or Red Hat. Instead, they focus on specific applications: SoNIC for cloud-based network hardware, SphereOS for secure industrial hardware for the Internet of Things, and CBL-Mariner as host for its Azure Stack endpoints and part of its Windows for Linux subsystem.

Microsoft bought it a year ago The German Linux provider Kinvolk to support the use of containers in Azure, especially on cloud platforms such as Kubernetes. Kinwalk is home to the popular container-optimized Linux Flatcar, as well as the Linux-based secure platform Kubernetes, Lokomotive. Kinvolk took the plunge to create a container-ready version of Linux after Red Hat bought CoreOS and merged its Fedora stack, reducing its performance for platforms such as Kubernetes.

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Add Kinvolk to Microsoft and Azure

When buying a Kinvolk, Microsoft noted its importance to Azure and is committed to supporting the Flatcar Community Development Project, intending to learn from how the Kinvolk team works. It is interesting to hear how Microsoft says it wants to learn how to do well open source, as it is clear that the company is making a big transition to open source methods. He may never use Windows or Office open source, but he uses open source as a way to build and manage his newer tools and platforms.

It is clear that Microsoft initially saw Flatcar as a replacement for Azure’s CoreOS. A year before the acquisition, he advised customers to migrate to Flatcar before the May 2020 CoreOS expiration date. The migration was a matter of changing your Azure deployment images in your Kubernetes or container repository. as an alternative, CoreOS systems can be switched to Flatcar using a simple script to download and run the update tools. This will allow existing nodes to continue to operate without full redistribution. With a new OS running, you can take the time to build and test new images before relocating your container environment.

What is Flatcar Container Linux?

If you haven’t watched Flatcar, this is a minimal Linux distribution designed to manage containers and nothing else. Flatcar is based on many of the basic concepts in cloud application development, providing a seamless infrastructure that evolves with each new compilation of your code. You don’t want your operating system to change under your application, even if it only hosts the containers of your applications, so Flatcar was configured before deploying a read-only system partition. It can be configured to automatically update security fixes, although you may prefer to make updates part of the build and deployment process. Kinvolk provides tools to manage the update process by managing which instances can be updated, when updates can be run, and how often they need to be applied.

Having a minimal Linux with a locked file system running in the cloud makes a lot of sense. Azure requires a split between tenants running the same hardware, but having a fixed container host significantly reduces security risks by keeping the attack area small and ensuring that many attack classes will not run on your container host.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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