Containers & Kubernetes

Windows Server containers on GKE now GA, with ecosystem support

Google Containers.jpg

As organizations look to modernize their Windows Server applications to achieve improved scalability and smoother operations, migrating them into Windows containers has become a leading solution. And orchestrating these containers with Kubernetes has become the industry norm, just as it has with Linux. 

We launched the preview of Windows Server container support in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) earlier this year, and today, it’s generally available for production use. Running your Windows apps in containers on Kubernetes can provide significant cost savings, as well as improved reliability, scalability, and security—things that are especially important in times of uncertainty. 

Since we launched the preview, many customers have kicked the tires on our Windows Server containers. Thanks to their feedback, we’ve added features like support for private clusters and regional clusters, choice of Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) versions, integration with Active Directory using group Managed Service Account (gMSA) and much more. 

This release also includes integration with the Google Cloud Console to simplify creating new GKE clusters or updating existing clusters with Windows Server node pools like in the graphic below.

GKA GA.gif

Improving the end-to-end experience with partner solutions

When you modernize your applications, you also want to incorporate them into an end-to-end DevOps management experience that works with your existing tooling and workflows. To that end, we’ve worked with several partners to make sure that your build, test, deploy, config and monitoring apps work well with Windows containers. Here are some use cases and partner solutions that we’ve tested to support Windows containers in GKE:

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Here are a few solutions from our technology ecosystem ISV partners tested to work with Windows containers in GKE:

  • Aqua: Aqua’s security platform can be deployed directly on a GKE cluster and allows users of Windows applications to scan images and ensure only trusted images are deployed to production, all while preventing container related attacks in real time. More here.
  • Chef: Chef’s application delivery solution Habitat can easily and efficiently package and deploy any Windows application—both modern and legacy—into GKE. More here.
  • CircleCI: CircleCI’s orb supports deployment to Windows containers running on GKE, allowing you to deploy applications in minutes from your CI/CD pipeline. More here.
  • CloudBees: Speed up your software delivery using CloudBees Core pipelines to test and create Windows-based apps managed on GKE. More here
  • Codefresh: Codefresh provides native support for connecting to GKE clusters, so you can create a deployment pipeline to serve Windows applications on the cluster. More here.
  • Datadog: By deploying the Datadog Agent on your Windows node pool, you can monitor all your containerized Windows applications running on a GKE cluster. More here.
  • GitLab: Execute a CI/CD pipeline with Windows runners on GitLab (both dotcom and self-hosted) to automatically deploy Windows apps on GKE. More here
  • JFrog: JFrog Artifactory serves as a Kubernetes registry that provides full traceability of all your orchestrated Windows apps. More here.
  • New Relic: The New Relic Kubernetes solution for GKE lets you fully observe metrics, events, logs and traces for the Windows workloads running in your Kubernetes clusters. More here.

We hope you will kick-start your modernization journey using Windows Server containers. You can find detailed documentation on our website. Our partners are eager to help you with any questions related to the published solutions. You can also reach out to the GCP sales team

If you are new to GKE, the Google Kubernetes Engine page and the Coursera course on Architecting with GKE are good places to start. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at gke-windows@google.com if you have any feedback or need help unblocking your use case.