Configure AKS scaling to Azure Container Instances

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An AKS cluster rapid burst pods to the ACI.

To rapidly scale your AKS cluster, you can integrate with Azure Container Instances (ACI). Kubernetes has built-in components to scale the replica and node count. However, if your application needs to rapidly scale, the horizontal pod autoscaler may schedule more pods than can be provided by the existing compute resources in the node pool. If configured, this scenario would then trigger the cluster autoscaler to deploy additional nodes in the node pool. It may take a few minutes for those nodes to successfully provision.

ACI lets you quickly deploy container instances without more infrastructure overhead. When you connect with AKS, ACI becomes a secured, logical extension of your AKS cluster. The Virtual Kubelet component is installed in your AKS cluster that presents ACI as a virtual Kubernetes node. Kubernetes can then schedule pods that run as ACI instances through virtual nodes, not as pods on VM nodes directly in your AKS cluster.

Your application requires no modification to use virtual nodes. Deployments can scale across AKS and ACI. There is no delay when the cluster autoscaler deploys new nodes in your AKS cluster.

Virtual nodes are deployed to another subnet in the same virtual network as your AKS cluster. This virtual network configuration allows the traffic between ACI and AKS to be secured. Like an AKS cluster, an ACI instance is a secure, logical compute resource that is isolated from other users.