Microsoft Azure Container Service Review

Secure, good integration capability, and you don't have to maintain any infrastructure

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and we help our clients to implement services. In this role, I make use of this product. It is generally used for container services to install images, such as Docker files. This includes storing images in a repository.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution means that you don't have to store and secure your container images within a private network.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that you don't have to maintain the infrastructure. It is an out-of-the-box service that is hosted by Azure.

It is a secure way to store container images.

It has integration capability with multiple CICD tools and platforms that are available in the market.

API support is very good. You can use it to create calls to upload images, download images, and manage the repository.

Microsoft has provided a lot of documentation that is available online.

What needs improvement?

In the future, I would like to see it generalized and have the ability to better integrate with open-source tools.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with the Azure Container Service for between two and three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As this is a PaaS that is provided by Azure, it means that if there were any issues then they would have to be publically addressed by Microsoft. I have not lately heard of any problems from my customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is quite easy to scale. I work with medium and large-scale companies in sectors such as energy and banking.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been in touch with the Microsoft technical support team many times. Generally it is good, although it depends on the type of support that you have. They have multiple support plans available, and my interaction with them depends on the support that they subscribe to.

Some of my clients have premium support plans, in which an engineer will be assigned to you. They track each and every issue and it will be a pretty quick turnaround time for the issues that you face.

If you are on a standard support plan then it has its own affiliates that will be followed up by Microsoft. Even in this case, the response time is quite good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have worked with similar solutions including the Amazon Cloud Platform, two years ago.

Most big cloud platforms have their own capabilities but the majority of functionality is in common. It comes down to the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. Some points in Azure are better, whereas other points in AWS are better.

Microsoft has come up with a service called Azure DevOps, which is a good platform that none of the other providers have right now. It provides the capability to automate your CICD processes or DevOps processes within the organization.

AWS has pipeline capability but they don't have a platform that is equal to Azure DevOps. Azure will give you pipelines, test plans for testing things, and they provide functionality for managing your work.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and not complex.

This is a PaaS solution that is hosted on Azure and we can configure it based on our needs. To spin up Container Services in Azure will take between 15 and 20 minutes. Automation of this is also possible either through ARM or Terraform.

Initially, to start with Container Services, any one person can do it by following the documentation that is available online. The documentation will help to determine the best design of the infrastructure, based on the requirements such as security. 

What about the implementation team?

If the customer has a complicated set of requirements then we may have to give them some advice with respect to implementation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As a cloud platform, there are multiple options available for licensing. The costs depend on the resources that you use, and there is a cost-management system to help calculate it. The number of hours will affect the total cost.

The licensing cost is for the support, so it varies depending on the plan and the agreement. In the case of an enterprise-level plan, the cost is an agreement between Microsoft and the organization.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is that it is a good option to use because it is more secure. You can secure your images and your code, which are stored on that cloud. You have dedicated access and you can integrate it with Azure Active directory. 

It is also a PaaS offering, which means that you don't need to manage your repositories. You only need to manage your data within them. Finally, it is cost-effective in terms of storing data.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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