What is on-premises Kubernetes with Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server?
Applies to: Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server is an on-premises Kubernetes implementation of AKS. AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server automates running containerized applications at scale. AKS makes it quicker to get started hosting Linux and Windows containers in your datacenter.
To get started with on-premises Kubernetes using AKS, set up AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server.
Or, you can use AKS to orchestrate your cloud-based containers. See Azure Kubernetes Service in Azure. If you're using Azure Stack Hub, see AKS engine on Azure Stack Hub.
The following sections discuss some of the reasons to use AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server, then answer some common questions about the service and how to get started. For a background on containers, see Windows and containers. For a background on how Kubernetes works in AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server, see Kubernetes core concepts and for a background on Kubernetes, see Kubernetes.io.
Why use AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server for containerized applications?
While you can manage a few containers manually using Docker and Windows, apps often make use of five, ten, or even hundreds of containers, which are where the Kubernetes orchestrator comes in.
Kubernetes is an open-source orchestrator for automating container management at scale. AKS simplifies on-premises Kubernetes deployment by providing wizards you can use to set up Kubernetes and essential Azure Stack HCI add-ons, and also create Kubernetes clusters to host your workloads.
Here's some of the functionality AKS provides on Azure Stack HCI:
- Deploy containerized apps at scale to Kubernetes clusters running across the Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server cluster.
- Deploy and manage both Linux and Windows-based containerized apps.
- Scale up or down by adding or removing nodes to the Kubernetes cluster.
- Manage storage and networking on your Kubernetes cluster.
- Provide automatic updates for your Kubernetes deployment.
- Keep up-to-date with the latest available Kubernetes versions.
- Use the popular Azure services through Azure Arc for Kubernetes.
Simplify setting up on-premises Kubernetes
AKS simplifies the process of setting up Kubernetes on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter, and includes the following features:
- A Windows Admin Center wizard for setting up AKS and its dependencies.
- A Windows Admin Center wizard for creating Kubernetes clusters to run your containerized applications.
- PowerShell cmdlets for setting up Kubernetes and creating Kubernetes clusters, in case you'd rather script the host setup and Kubernetes cluster creation.
View the GIF below to familiarize yourself with the deployment process:
View and manage on-premises Kubernetes using tools or Azure Arc
Once you've set up on-premises Kubernetes using AKS and created a Kubernetes cluster, you can manage and monitor your Kubernetes infrastructure with:
- In the Azure portal using Azure Arc - Use Azure Arc to manage applications deployed on top of Kubernetes clusters across your cloud and on-premises environments.
Azure Arc also enables you to manage your Kubernetes clusters with other Azure services including:
- Azure Monitor
- Azure Policy
- Role-Based Access Control
- On-premises using popular tools like Kubectl - There are many open-source tools that allow you to deploy applications to a Kubernetes cluster, manage cluster resources, troubleshoot, and view running applications. All of these tools work with Kubernetes clusters deployed with AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server.
Run Linux and Windows containers
AKS fully supports both Linux-based and Windows-based containers. When you create a Kubernetes cluster on Azure Stack HCI, you can choose whether to create node pools (groups of identical Kubernetes cluster nodes) to run Linux containers, Windows containers, or both.
AKS creates the Linux and Windows nodes so that you don't have to directly manage the Linux or Windows operating systems.
Secure your container infrastructure
AKS includes many features to help secure your container infrastructure:
- Hypervisor-based isolation for worker nodes - Each Kubernetes cluster runs on its own dedicated and isolated set of virtual machines so tenants can share the same physical infrastructure.
- Microsoft-maintained Linux and Windows images for worker nodes - Worker nodes run Linux and Windows virtual machine images created by Microsoft to adhere to security best practices. Microsoft also refreshes these images monthly with the latest security updates.
What you need to get started
The following sections summarize what you need to run on-premises Kubernetes with AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server. For complete details on what you need before you install AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server, see system requirements.
On your Windows Admin Center system
Your machine running the Windows Admin Center gateway must be:
- Registered with Azure
- In the same domain as the Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter cluster
On the Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server cluster or Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter failover cluster that hosts AKS
The Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server cluster or Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter failover cluster has the following requirements:
- A maximum of eight servers in the cluster
- 1 TB of available capacity in the storage pool for AKS
- At least 30 GB of available memory for running AKS VMs
- All servers in the cluster must use the EN-US region and language selection
For general Azure Stack HCI system requirements, see Azure Stack HCI system requirements.
The network configuration for Azure Stack HCI
The network connected to VMs on the Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter cluster requires a dedicated scope of IPv4 addresses available for AKS and accessible by VMs on the Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server 2019/2022 Datacenter cluster. For more information on networking requirements, see AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server system requirements.
To get started with AKS on Azure Stack HCI and Windows Server, see the following articles: