One week after the GA of Azure Container Registry and only two months after the availability of Kubernetes on Azure Container Service, Microsoft acquires Deis, the guys who make open source Kubernetes management software (Helm, Steward and Workflow), from PaaS Cloud Provider Engine Yard. The Deis slogan is “making Kubernetes easy to use.” With the Deis acquisition Microsoft obtains talent and technologies to successfully compete in the container arena. Infusing Windows, Visual Studio, Azure and OMS with easy container management capabilities is key for Microsoft to catch up with AWS and stay ahead of Google Cloud Platform.

Helm Key Value Prop (Source: Deis)

In the larger scheme of things, Deis is still a small startup. However, the fact that this acquisition is getting top management attention from Microsoft shows that the company takes containers seriously. And as an interesting sidenote, Engine Yard, on its website, prides itself of reselling “over 1 Billion AWS hours” within the context of its PaaS and managed services offerings. Cutting into this business (Google Cloud also leverages Helm) definitely is a welcome side effect of the Deis deal.

Microsoft has acknowledged that the days where the OS was a meaningful differentiator are over. Today, it is all about getting customers as quickly as possible to adopt Azure. Tight container integration of MS Visual Studio combined with simplified container management on Azure are the two critical components for Microsoft’s differentiation strategy. And of course, with OMS, Microsoft has a hybrid cloud operations management tool up its sleeve, which does not have any competition from Amazon or Google.