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How to migrate your apps from Azure Container Service

Signaling another victory for Kubernetes in the container orchestration marketplace, Microsoft recently announced that it will retire its Azure Container Service in January 2020. ACS users are being encouraged to move their distributed infrastructures across to Microsoft’s newer Azure Kubernetes Service.

It’s a logical move for Microsoft. While ACS’s alternative orchestration options for Docker Swarm and Mesosphere’s DC/OS will continue to be supported on Azure, Microsoft will no longer run them for you. Instead, Microsoft is concentrating its investment on improving Kubernetes support across Azure and on its own Kubernetes tools.

What happens to your existing ACS apps

While ACS is being retired, applications built on it won’t suddenly stop running. The APIs used to manage them will be blocked, so you have no control and you won’t be able to use Azure tools to add new clusters or update and scale your existing services. There’ll also be no support, so although code will run you won’t be able to manage it without using your own tools—and even then those capabilities will be limited. You’ll also be locked into an old version of whatever orchestration framework you’re using, and you won’t be able to rely on automated security updates.

It’s clear that the added risk from staying on ACS after January 2020 will be too high for most applications, so take the year Microsoft is providing to plan and manage any migrations.

For ACS applications using Kubernetes, that won’t be too difficult. But because the underlying orchestration concepts and tools will be different for Swarm and DC/OS, code that’s build on them will be harder to move. Even there, though, because all the services rely on the same container model, you won’t need to make significant code changes.

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