The ability to run Kubernetes anywhere in the cloud or on premise is a high priority for Azure customers looking to innovate quickly. The focus of customers is increasingly on the advantages of container-optimized workloads and operating systems as well as the simpler modernization of lean applications and the reliability of the platform.

To support this rapid development, we announce that Microsoft has taken over Kinvolk GmbH.

Kinvolk’s founding mission statement is: “Establishing and promoting an open cloud-native stack for companies”. We believe this fits in perfectly with our growing customer needs and our ongoing investments in open source and Kubernetes.

Kinvolk has a rich, innovative history in open source cloud-native distributed computing, including Kubernetes, eBPF, community building, and container-optimized Linux, as well as important early work with CoreOS (the company) on rkt container runtime. Kinvolk finally developed Flatcar Container Linux, a popular alternative to CoreOS Container Linux, as well as the Locomotive and Inspector Gadget projects.

Microsoft is pleased to be able to bring the expertise of the Kinvolk team to Azure, where they will make a significant contribution to the technical development of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Arcand future projects that will expand the capabilities of Azure’s hybrid container platform and increase Microsoft’s upstream open source contributions to Kubernetes and containers. You will find further technical details shortly.

Build with open source communities

Additionally, Microsoft respects and wants to learn from the Kinvolk team’s great track record in starting, creating, and promoting open source community projects. Microsoft is committed to maintaining and expanding Kinvolk’s open source culture. The Kinvolk team remains active in its existing open source projects and will be critical to further collaboration between the Azure development teams and the larger open source container community.

Flatcar Container Linux has a sizeable user community in Azure, other clouds and on-premise. We know the CoreOS community has been on a winding road over the years. We want to assure the Flatcar community that Microsoft and the Kinvolk team will continue to work with the larger Flatcar community on the development of Flatcar Container Linux. Microsoft is committed to the development of the Flatcar Container Linux community and will invest in the cooperation with the Flatcar community in order to jointly create a growth path. We will have our first meeting with the community in the coming weeks and invite everyone interested to take part in the conversation.

We’re excited to bring the Kinvolk team and their technologies to Microsoft, and look forward to the contributions they make to Azure, our customers, and the open source community.

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