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Microsoft’s Draft helps developers adopt Kubernetes

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Microsoft is making it easier for developers to get started with Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration tool. On Wednesday, the company launched Draft, which is designed to streamline the setup of a containerized application.

When a developer first invokes Draft from the command line, the tool will analyze an application’s code, detect what language is being used, and then automatically generate the source files needed to get it ready to run on a Kubernetes cluster. It’s meant to enable developers who have no knowledge of Docker or Kubernetes to get started with those tools early in their development workflow.

That’s a key problem to address, because while savvy pilot teams are able to get up and running with containers easily, it’s hard to scale that knowledge out to an entire organization.

“This stuff is way too hard,” said Gabe Monroy, a program management lead at Microsoft. “The conceptual barrier is way too difficult, and people don’t know how to get started with it.”

Once Draft is set up, developers just have to run the draft up command to have their application deployed to a Kubernetes cluster. While it’s possible for devs to target a cluster running on their personal computer, the power of Draft is its ability to deploy an application on a remote cluster running in the cloud or an on-premises datacenter.

Containerization allows developers to build more portable and scalable applications, which is important for operating in modern cloud environments. However, tools like Kubernetes (which help with the deployment and management of applications that use multiple containers) can have a steep learning curve. That’s where Draft is supposed to come in.

Draft is the brainchild of Deis, a company that Microsoft acquired earlier this year to help simplify the use of containers. It also shows the extent to which Microsoft is willing to support Kubernetes, a tool that originated with Google and has rapidly gained popularity. In addition to the Deis acquisition, Microsoft also employs Brendan Burns, one of the co-creators of Kubernetes.

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