A couple of weeks ago Microsoft previewed Azure Container Instances (ACI), a serverless container environment to run containers without the need to manage virtual machines. While there have been some debates on the association of the term “serverless” with ACI, it is justified through its single command-based ultra-fast provisioning of containers.
Serverless environments typically have three attributes:
- Per-second billing based on the execution time
- Transparent resource provisioning through infrastructure abstraction
- Event-driven invocation
With the exception of event-driven invocation, ACI meets the first two attributes. The third attribute is expected in the near feature.
Lightning Fast Container Provisioning
Almost all the container environments in the public cloud require two steps to get started: provision the host VM and then run the container based on the specified image. ACI reduces this to one step, bypassing the provisioning of the host VM.
The following two commands create a Nginx container and exposes it on the public Internet.
$ az group create --name myResourceGroup \ --location westus $ az container create --name mycontainer \ --image nginx \ --resource-group myResourceGroup \ --ip-address public
The above command involves creation of the VM, pulling the container image from Docker Hub, running and exposing it through the public IP address.
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