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Microsoft Bought This Startup to Boost Its Cloud

April 10, 2017, 3:21 PM UTC

Microsoft is buying Deis, a small company that specializes in containers, a modern way to develop and deploy software.

The deal was announced Monday morning in a blog post. No financial terms were provided.

Software containers are seen as the new building blocks of cloud-based applications. Thus, they constitute a hot category as many businesses are turning to third-party public clouds—like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services—to run their applications. Finding ways to do this in the most reliable and efficient manner is critical.

If a container is a single unit of cloud computing, then Kubernetes—a Google (GOOGL)-backed technology that has gained support from some vendors—is seen as a good way to manage multiple containers across a cloud. And San Francisco-based Deis says it can make it easier for companies to use Kubernetes for their own purposes.

In announcing the news, Microsoft (MSFT) executive vice president Scott Guthrie wrote that the company has seen “explosive growth” both in interest and actual deployment of containers on Azure.

Deis also claims an open-source worldview, meaning that the company relies on software that is freely available for users to view, adopt, and tweak to suit their needs.

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Microsoft, long known as a company that made its billions selling proprietary “closed-source” software in the past, wasn’t exactly friendly to the notion of open-source software. But over the past few years, the tech giant has changed its stance and pushed Azure as a good home to open-source software.

Now, the company says nearly a third of all virtual machines in Azure run Linux, the popular open-source operating system favored by many developers over Windows. (A virtual machine is a tech industry term for a computer server running in a cloud.)

Microsoft has also said Azure will support multiple tools for managing and deploying containers. AWS, the leader in public cloud, offers its own container management service that competes with Kubernetes.