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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Brings Kubernetes to the Edge with AKS Edge Essentials

Microsoft Brings Kubernetes to the Edge with AKS Edge Essentials

Microsoft recently announced the general availability release of AKS Edge Essentials, a new Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) offering designed to simplify edge computing for developers and IT professionals.

AKS Edge Essentials is a lightweight, CNCF-conformant Kubernetes K3s distribution supported and managed by Microsoft. It simplifies the process of Kubernetes setup by providing PowerShell scripts and cmdlets to set up Kubernetes and create single or multi-node Kubernetes clusters. In addition, it fully supports both Linux-based and Windows-based containers that can be easily deployed at the edge on any Windows PC class device with Windows 10 and 11 IoT Enterprise, Enterprise, and Pro.

After setting up on-premises Kubernetes using AKS Edge Essentials and creating a cluster, customers can manage their infrastructure through the Azure portal. In addition, various Azure Arc-enabled services like Azure policy, Azure monitor, and Azure ML services enable them to ensure compliance, monitor their clusters, and run cloud services on edge clusters.


When customers create an AKS Edge Essentials deployment, AKS Edge Essentials creates a virtual machine for each deployed node. In addition, ASK Edge Essentials manages the virtual machines' lifecycle, configuration, and updates. Deployments can only create one Linux VM on a given host machine, acting as both the control plane node and as a worker node based on the customers' deployment needs. Optionally, a Windows node can be created if customers need to deploy Windows containers.


With AKS Edge Essentials, Microsoft will support and manage the entire stack, from hardware drivers to cloud services and everything in between. In addition, customers can choose the 10-year Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of the Windows IoT OS, ensuring long-term stability with critical and security fixes.

Furthermore, Microsoft has partnered with Lenovo, Scalers AI, Arrow, Anicca Data, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to enable AKS Edge Essentials across more devices and develop new solutions that allow customers to get started with AKS Edge Essentials quickly.

Jason Farmer, principal program manager, Azure Edge + Platform, told InfoQ:

With this release, customers can now run a fully Microsoft-supported, simple, and managed Kubernetes distribution on Windows. Now, any workload built for Kubernetes can be run and securely maintained by Microsoft across the ecosystem of Azure-connected devices built on the Windows OS.

In addition, Kevin Viera, a cloud infrastructure engineer, tweeted:

Microsoft is making it really easy to get started with k8s with Azure Kubernetes Service Edge Essentials "AKS Edge Essentials" which is basically an on-prem Kubernetes with cloud mgmt via Azure Arc.

More service details are available on the documentation pages, including a QuickStart.

Lastly, the company will update the product with new capabilities like commercial support for multi-machine deployment, Windows containers, and additional Azure Arc-enabled services on AKS Edge Essentials clusters.

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