Azure Container Apps: Features, Review, Pricing & More

Azure Container Apps
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A lot of developers become lost in the maze of Azure’s container-related services. Cloud provider Azure began with the bare-bones Azure Container Services but quickly expanded to include other alternatives, including Azure Container Apps and Azure Container Service (AKS). Enterprises may take advantage of Azure’s many container-as-a-service options to simplify application deployment and maintenance as they migrate legacy monolithic apps to the cloud and containers. But that’s not all you can do with Azure. All you need to know about the Azure service options for managing containers is readily available online. However, there aren’t many equivalents in terms of cost. In this article, we will discuss Azure container app reviews, pricing, documentation, how to deploy it, and their competitors.

What Is an Azure Container App?

Azure Container Apps (ACA) is a fully managed platform that lets you execute containerized applications with the help of Kubernetes orchestration without having to deal with the intricacies of cluster management. 

In addition to deploying API endpoints, hosting background processing applications, managing event-driven processing, and running microservices, this service enables you to have serverless applications built on containers. A few advantages of the Azure container apps are:

#1. Driven by Kubernetes

Offers a fully managed experience for deploying containerized applications without the need for direct access to Kubernetes APIs or cluster management (ACA does not provide direct access to Kubernetes API, so if you need access to it, consider using the Azure Kubernetes Service — AKS), simplifying the process of running containerized apps.

#2. Use a CI/CD Approach to Deployment

You can publish revisions (a revision is an immutable snapshot of a container app version) to your container app by deploying it with CI/CD pipelines (integrates with GitHub Actions and Azure DevOps Pipelines). Azure Container Apps will build a new revision based on the revised container image whenever a new commit is submitted to your repository, which will in turn trigger the pipeline and update the container image in the container registry.

#3. Ingress Over TCP/HTTPS 

Makes it simple to share your containerized apps with the World Wide Web, your private VNET, and other container apps running in your environment. This is possible because ingress is enabled, meaning that incoming HTTP requests and TCP traffic can occur without the need for a separate Azure Load Balancer, public IP addresses, or any other Azure services.

#4. Facilitates Administration

It reduces operational burden by providing an environment where applications may be deployed, scaled, and updated without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

#5. Dapr and Other Open-Source Software Are Behind Its Operation

You may leverage tools like KEDA (a Kubernetes event-driven autoscaler) and Envoy (a traffic proxy) in your ACA projects by using a combination of KEDA, a Distributed Application Runtime that helps to increase productivity while constructing microservices, and KEDA.

What Are the Two Types of Containers Used in Azure?

If you’re familiar with Azure, you’ll know that many of its offerings revolve around containers:

#1. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

The Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a cloud-based, managed container orchestrator. Its foundation is Kubernetes, a well-known open-source container orchestration platform that Google developed initially. In recent years, Kubernetes has established itself as a standard orchestrator. While the platform does offer a wide variety of useful features and functionalities, it also has a complicated set of criteria for both new users and administrators.

Instead of dealing with the complexities of self-managed Kubernetes installations, AKS lets businesses handle the essential features of containers and container-based applications, such as deployment, management, and scaling. Using AKS, the management and deployment of clusters is simplified as it takes care of most of the administrative work. This solution caters to businesses that want to use Kubernetes and Docker on Azure to create scalable applications.

In addition, it is possible to set up an AKS cluster through the Azure portal, the Azure CLI, or the Azure PowerShell. To do deployments that are entirely template-based, you can use templates in Azure Resource Manager.

#2. Azure Service Fabric

Azure Service Fabric is a distributed systems platform that streamlines the processes of container and microservice management, packaging, and deployment. The features offered by Service Fabric make it easy to create and manage apps that are native to the cloud. You can construct stateful services with the aid of Service Fabric. It provides a programming approach for running containerized stateful services in which any code or language can be used. Any Linux or Windows Server installation, Microsoft Azure, or other public cloud can be used to launch a Service Fabric cluster.

With Service Fabric, you can distribute microservices across a number of Azure compute nodes. Application deployment at scale, with hundreds or thousands of containers or applications per machine, becomes trivial when services are defined. Using Service Fabric, a single application can consist of both containerized and process-based services.

Additionally, the Service Fabric’s lightweight runtime environment is capable of supporting both stateful and stateless microservices. When used in conjunction with containerized stateful services or the native programming models provided by Service Fabric, it offers powerful support for stateful services.

Why Use Azure Container? Features and Solutions

The Azure Container app has gained a lot of attention as a promising replacement for virtual machines in the context of application hosting. The prior container platforms were convoluted and lacked flexibility due to their reliance on the setup of the system.

Since then, we have made great strides forward. The virtualization of OS layers, now used in containers, enables improvements in resource management and flexibility. Let’s have a look at some of Azure’s container service’s must-have features and container solutions:

#1. Easy Expansion

Due to the low overhead of Azure containers, a large number of containers can run on the same hardware. Containers’ lightweight nature enables them to start and stop rapidly, allowing for easy scaling up and down.

#2. Agility

Developers may now create containers for their apps and hand them off to IT to be run on a consistent infrastructure. This not only streamlines the entire development and testing process but also reduces the time and effort required to deploy applications. As a result, it improves teamwork and efficiency, allowing for quicker app releases.

#3. Portability

Containers follow a consistent structure for storing and transporting all the parts of an application. It eliminates the need for proprietary software on specific hardware and paves the way for a seamless transition across operating system platforms and cloud deployment options. As a result, containers always run in the same, always-replicable environment, regardless of where they are deployed.

Azure Container Apps Pricing

All costs are approximations and should not be taken as firm quotations. The actual cost could be different depending on the agreement type, date of purchase, and currency conversion rate used while making the transaction with Microsoft. Dollar amounts are converted to local currency using the London closing spot rate on the second business day before the last business day of the previous month. Rate setting day is typically the day before the last two business days of the month, but can be the day before that if a bank holiday occurs on those days in important markets.

The future month’s transactions will be charged at this rate. You can discover pricing for Azure based on your current Microsoft app or offer by logging in. Get in touch with a sales rep for Azure if you have any pricing questions or would like a quote. 

Consumption Plan

The price of Azure Container Apps is calculated in real time, as resources are used. Free usage for the first 180,000 vCPU seconds, 360,000 GiB seconds, and 2,000,000 requests each month. After that, you only pay for the time your programs actually utilize, which is determined by the number of vCPUs and the amount of memory they are given.

Requests and events trigger automatic scaling in applications. When a replica of a container app is actively being used, it will incur costs. When there are no requests or events, the number of replicas of the application can be set to zero. Also, when an app’s scale is set to 0, there are no usage fees.

Container Apps can be configured to always run in an idle state, provided a certain minimum number of replicas are always active. Utilization is charged at a decreased idle rate when a replica is idle when an application scales down to its minimum number of replicas. When a replica starts up, processes requests, or exceeds the active billing thresholds for virtual CPU or bandwidth, it enters active mode and is charged at the active rate.

Each execution of a job using Container Apps is charged for the duration of its runtime at the active rate for the resources it consumes. When a job is not actively executed, no fees are incurred.

Dedicated Plan

A single tenant guarantee, access to dedicated infrastructure, and more stable pricing are all features of the Azure Container Apps Dedicated plan. The number of vCPU seconds and the amount of storage space in gibibytes (GiB) seconds are used to calculate the cost of the Dedicated plan. In addition, there is a regular fee for handling your Dedicated plan.

Furthermore, in the Dedicated plan, you have the option of creating applications with varying numbers of vCPUs and terabytes of memory. Each running instance will incur costs proportional to the total vCPUs and RAM allocated to this workload profile. Depending on the resources needed by each application and the resources provided by the workload profile, several applications may coexist in a single environment. When necessary, these workload profiles can automatically scale up to use more than one instance. See the Azure pricing page for the Container Apps Dedicated plan to find out more.

Dedicated plan management (hour)$0.10 per hour
vCPU (hour)$0.0571 per hour
Memory (GiB-hour)$0.0050 per hour
Dedicated Plan

What Is an Example of a Container Application?

Docker is an extremely popular example of a container application. Developers can use Docker to create a standardized container for an application and all of its prerequisites. Thanks to this containerized method, the application can be operated in a consistent manner across different environments, streamlining the deployment process and guaranteeing that it runs smoothly regardless of the platform being used. 

Since Docker containers are portable and lightweight, they are widely used in today’s software development and deployment processes.

Is Azure Container the Same as Docker?

Although similar, Docker and Azure Container Instances serve different purposes. Docker is a software environment for creating, distributing, and operating software in containerized environments. Lightweight and portable, containers enclose an application and all of its prerequisites. Docker is a tool for building and running containerized applications locally.

In contrast, Microsoft Azure’s Azure Container Instances (ACI) solution lets you run containers in the cloud without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. With ACI, you can deploy Docker containers without the hassle of creating and managing individual virtual machines. It simplifies the deployment of applications at scale by running containers on Azure without the need for in-depth knowledge of infrastructure administration.

Azure Container Instances is a managed service in Microsoft Azure for running containers without managing the underlying infrastructure, while Docker is a containerization platform. Also, read TOP 11 BEST DOCKER ALTERNATIVES 2023: Reviewed.

How to Deploy Azure Container Apps

The current trend in app development is to package applications in containers. The most popular container host is Kubernetes. However, not everyone needs or wants to learn Kubernetes cluster administration. There are many who are eager to get their apps out there.

When using Azure Container Apps, containers are deployed to an Azure-managed Kubernetes cluster. Developers are freed up to do what they do best: create software. Deploying to Azure Container Apps requires configuring the following first:

  • Registering your containers in a central location
  • A container registry push server that is also a build server
  • A stream from outside the Octopus Docker Container Registry
  • A setting for Azure Container Apps

#1. Configuring the Container Registry

You’ll need a spot to push your containers before anything else. Although Octopus may be used with any Docker registry, an Azure Container Registry is used here as an example. You can move on to the next section if you have previously set up a Docker Container Registry.

  • Click Create a resource in the Azure Portal to set up an Azure Container Registry.
  • To access the Container Registry, simply enter “Azure Container Registry” and select it from the results.
  • Simply enter the necessary data and hit the Create button.
  • Once the resource has been created, the login server details should be copied. You’ll need these information to get the Octopus Deploy external feed and Docker build task up and running.

#2. Configuring the Build Server

A build server must be set up so that containers may be pushed from it to the container registry.

This post utilizes Azure DevOps to demonstrate container creation and deployment to an Azure Container Registry for eShopOnWeb. Two containers make up eShopOnWeb:

  • API 
  • Web

Two Docker build tasks, each utilizing the build and push command, make up my build.

Adding the Docker Build Task

Type “docker” into the search bar to narrow down the list of available tasks. Select the Docker job, then.

To function, the Docker job must be connected to the Docker Registry service. Use the “New” button to start a blank form.

  • Docker Registry: The login server from your ACR in URL format = https://, example
  • Docker ID: User ID for logging into your ACR. I chose to use an app registration, so the value of the ID is the application (client) ID of the app registration.
  • Docker Password: Password for the User ID. If you’re using an app registration, this is the secret for the app registration.
  • The rest of the fields can use the defaults.

For the API Docker build task, use the following values:

  • Container repository: eshop-api
  • Command: buildAndPush
  • Dockerfile: src/PublicApi/Dockerfile
  • Build context: .
  • Tags: $(Build.BuildNumber) (Optional, I set my build format number to $(Year:yyyy).$(Month).$(DayOfYear)$(Rev:r))

There will be no changes to the Web Docker build task.

  • Container repository: eshop-web
  • Dockerfile: src/Web/Dockerfile

When you schedule a build, the process should automatically upload your container images to the registry.

#3. Configuring the Octopus Deploy External Feed

Now that the containers are running on ACR, an external feed must be set up in Octopus. To add an external feed, go to Library > External Feeds > ADD FEED.

Choose the feed format. I’ll be utilizing Azure Container Registry throughout this write-up.

Feed information should be added in a manner analogous to the Service Connection in Azure DevOps:

  • Name: A meaningful name for the External Feed
  • URL: https://<Login Server> – example:
  • Credentials:
  • Feed Username: User to connect to the registry. I used an app registration.
  • Feed Password: Password for the user account. Mine was the secret for the app registration.

Select SAVE AND TEST thereafter.

Type in the full or partial name of the image you’re looking for.

Configuring Project Variables

This article assumes you are familiar with starting an Octopus project and does not include instructions for doing so. Set the following parameters for the eShopOnWeb Octopus project:

  • Project.Azure.Account: An Azure Service Prinicipal account variable. (Optional, the templates used can use Managed Identity)
  • Project.Azure.ContainerApp.Api.Name: Value to set for the Container Name, example: #{Octopus.Environment.Name}-eshop-api
  • Project.Azure.ContainerApp.Environment.Name: Name of the Azure Container App environment to create/use, example: #{Octopus.Environment.Name | ToLower} Note: Azure Container App environment names must be lower case.
  • Project.Azure.ContainerApp.Web.Name: Value to set for the Container Name, example: #{Octopus.Environment.Name | ToLower}-eshop-web
  • Project.Azure.Region.Code: The short name for the Azure Region, example: westus3
  • Project.Azure.ResourceGroup.Name: Name of the Azure Resource Group to create the resources in.
  • Project.Catalog.Database.Name: Name of the Catalog database for eShopOnWeb, example: #{Octopus.Environment.Name}-eshop-catalog
  • Project.Identity.Database.Name: Name of the Identity database for eShopOnWeb, example: #{Octopus.Environment.Name}-eshop-identity
  • Project.SQL.DNS: The DNS name for the SQL database server, example:
  • Project.SQL.User.Name: Name of the SQL account for database access, example: eShopUser
  • Project.SQL.User.Password: Password for the SQL account

Configuring the Deployment Process

You can set up the deployment procedure after you’ve set up the External Feed and the project variables. The procedure for utilizing eShopOnWeb includes the following steps:

  • Azure – Create Container App environment
  • Azure – Deploy api Container App
  • Get API DNS
  • Azure Deploy web Container App

#4. Deployment

The following Azure resources should be produced once the deployment is finished:

  • Catalog database
  • Identity database
  • Azure Container App environment
  • eshop-api container app
  • eshop-web container app

In addition, to view the functioning eshop-web application, enter the eshop-web Container App and navigate to the URL.

Azure Container Apps Documentation

Microsoft Azure’s Azure Container Apps is a serverless container solution that makes it easier to install and manage containers. Users seeking to make effective use of this service will find extensive assistance in its documentation. Containerized application development and management, elastic resource scalability, and cross-service integration are just some of the subjects covered in the docs. Instructions on how to use the Azure Command Line Interface (CLI), the Azure PowerShell, or the Azure Resource Manager templates to deploy applications are available. 

There is extensive coverage of domain customization, user authentication, and performance tracking. It also contains guidelines for making the most of containers, keeping data safe, and fixing any problems that may arise. The documentation for Azure Container Apps provides customers with helpful information such as tips for deployment, how to increase scalability, and how to integrate with other Azure services. Maintain a state of current awareness 

In addition, you can learn more about Azure Container Apps and its capabilities, as well as best practices, by reading the platform’s official documentation.

What Is the Difference Between VM and OS Container?

Virtual machines (VMs) and operating system (OS) containers are both technologies used for virtualization and isolation, but they differ significantly in their architecture and use cases.

Machines in a virtual machine (VM) are fully functional simulations of a real computer. Each VM runs its own guest operating system atop a hypervisor, which emulates the hardware, allowing different operating systems to run on the same physical machine independently. VMs provide strong isolation between applications and are ideal for running heterogeneous workloads that require different operating systems.

Containers, on the other hand, share the host system’s OS kernel, utilizing containerization technologies like Docker. They encapsulate an application and its dependencies, enabling it to run in a consistent environment across different environments. Containers are lightweight, start quickly, and consume fewer resources compared to VMs. They excel in the context of cloud-native apps and microservice architectures.

In summary, VMs provide full OS virtualization with strong isolation, while containers offer lightweight, efficient application virtualization by sharing the host OS kernel. The choice between VMs and containers depends on the specific requirements of the workload and the desired balance between isolation and resource efficiency.

Azure Container Apps Competitors

Below are some popular alternatives and competitors to Azure Web App for Containers that customers and reviews have mentioned. When looking for an alternative or a formidable competitor for the Azure Web App for Containers, it’s also vital to think about the app’s settings and features. To help you choose a competitor to Azure Web App for Containers, we have created a list of solutions that were ranked highest by reviewers.

#1. Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) 

Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service) is a robust container orchestration service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), serving as a formidable competitor to Azure Container Apps. ECS allows users to easily deploy, manage, and scale Docker containers using a fully managed service. It integrates seamlessly with other AWS services, offering high availability and security features. 

ECS provides flexibility in choosing launch types, including EC2 instances and AWS Fargate for serverless deployments, accommodating diverse application needs. Its deep integration with the AWS ecosystem, extensive networking capabilities, and fine-grained control make it a popular choice for businesses seeking efficient container management, making it a strong contender in the competitive container orchestration market.

#2. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) stands as a formidable competitor to Azure Container Apps, offering a powerful platform for containerized applications. GKE is Google Cloud’s managed Kubernetes service, providing users with a highly scalable, reliable, and secure environment for deploying, managing, and orchestrating containers. It leverages Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration system, and integrates seamlessly with other Google Cloud services. 

GKE’s strengths lie in its robust automation, efficient scaling capabilities, and advanced networking features. With Google’s expertise in container technology and cloud services, GKE appeals to businesses aiming for a flexible, developer-friendly, and production-ready container management solution, making it a top contender in the competitive landscape.

#3. OpenShift

Red Hat’s OpenShift, a popular Kubernetes-based container platform, provides a strong competitor to Microsoft’s Azure Container Apps. It allows businesses to more easily create, deploy, and manage containerized applications. OpenShift provides a convenient environment for software engineers by providing them with tools for continuous integration and delivery. Some of its most notable characteristics include its ability to scale automatically, its high level of security, and the breadth of its pre-built solution marketplace. 

OpenShift’s USP is that it caters to developers and places an emphasis on teamwork and creativity. It’s compatible with multi-cloud and hybrid deployments, so it’s easy to set up in a variety of settings. OpenShift is therefore a formidable market contender, capturing the attention of companies searching for a scalable, adaptable, and community-driven container platform.

#4. Oracle Container Engine

Oracle Container Engine is a robust competitor to Azure Container Apps, providing enterprises with a powerful platform for containerized applications. Part of Oracle Cloud, this managed Kubernetes service offers seamless orchestration, allowing users to deploy, manage, and scale containers effortlessly. Oracle Container Engine emphasizes simplicity and flexibility, enabling developers to focus on building innovative solutions. Its integration with Oracle Cloud services, strong security features, and enterprise-grade support make it an attractive choice. 

In addition, Oracle Container Engine’s ability to handle diverse workloads, coupled with Oracle’s expertise in enterprise solutions, positions it as a top competitor, especially for businesses seeking a reliable, scalable, and secure container management platform.

What Is the Difference Between a Container App and a Container Instance?

A container app refers to an application that is packaged along with its dependencies, libraries, and runtime environment in a containerized format, such as Docker. This allows the app to run consistently across different environments.

On the other hand, a container instance refers to a specific running occurrence of a containerized application. It’s a runtime environment created from a container image, capable of running the application within an isolated environment, ensuring portability and scalability in various computing environments.

Bottom Line

In addition to the advantages of running containerized applications with the power of Kubernetes orchestration, Azure Container Apps also removes the burden of maintaining cloud infrastructure and complex container orchestrators. This service is great for deploying applications in containers and supporting microservices architecture. Using GitHub Actions, you may automate the deployment of your container app with CI/CD pipelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is blob vs container in Azure?

Containers are like directories in a file system in that they keep similar blobs together. You can store an unlimited number of blobs in a container, and you can store an unlimited number of containers in a storage account.

What type of OS is Azure container apps?

The Azure container app runs on a Linux-based operating system.

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