Microsoft has revealed it is making a significant change to its Xbox shopping experience across Xbox Cloud Gaming, PC, console, and mobile. According to the company, it will use the Linux distro Mariner as the host OS. Microsoft points out that open-source distribution will be used exclusively.
Gaming is becoming increasingly a digital experience, with users purchasing titles exclusively through digital storefronts. Services like the Microsoft Store provide access to a catalog of games and apps, and customers often only see the results. However, under the surface, a lot of work goes into developing a coherent and functional store.
Today, Microsoft announced it is migrating the whole Xbox storefront across platforms from its Azure Service Fabric to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). The move facilitates Microsoft's decision to use Mariner as the host OS.
Brian Wentz, Principal Software Engineer at CPE, says Mariner is ideal for the Xbox storefront because it boosts security and compliance:
“CPE is in the final stages of migrating from Service Fabric to AKS, and as part of that transition, we've chosen to move to Mariner as our host OS. In less than a month, we scaled to 12k cores on Mariner. Once the transition is complete, Mariner will be the only Linux distro powering CPE.
[…] Looking ahead, we want to reduce our servicing costs at the container level as well, and plan to move to Mariner base container images in the next 6 months. Longer term, we also plan to utilize Mariner distroless containers.”
Microsoft's Creator Platforms and Experiences (CPE) group is handling the migration. CBL-Mariner is a popular Linux distro that was created by Microsoft to underpin several cloud products on Azure. It functions as a base container unit and provides the graphical capabilities of Azure Sphere OS, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL), and plenty of other services.
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