Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Windows Server To Get Docker App Containers 

Microsoft is jumping on the Docker container bandwagon. The company is expanding its partnership with Docker, the company, to give it access to emerging application container technologies that will be delivered in a future release of Windows Server.

The partners said that developers and enterprises creating Docker container applications could now use both Windows Server or Linux. Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO of Docker, stressed in a statement that the strength of Windows Server in the enterprise market makes the partnership a "watershed event" for the Docker technology ecosystem.

In June, Microsoft added support for Docker containers on Linux virtual machines running on its Azure cloud platform. The expanded collaboration is portrayed as a means of bringing container applications across platforms via uniform functionality across Windows Server and Linux.

"It's the merging of the best of both worlds," David Messina, Docker's vice president of marketing, said in an interview. "That was the driver" for a uniform offering for Linux and Windows Server.

The collaboration also represents another effort to separate application development from more mundane infrastructure operations. That means "better apps will be built with greater freedom of choice," Messina asserted.

By supporting Docker containers on the next-generation Windows Server, Microsoft Azure chief Jason Zander noted in a blog post, "applications themselves can be mixed" and Windows Server containers will run in enterprise as well as hosted datacenters along with public cloud providers like Azure.

The partners added that the deal would allow developers to create applications for Azure and Windows Server that leverage previous development work in the Docker open source community.

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Under the expanded partnership, Microsoft said it would contribute to Docker's open orchestration APIs as a way to ensure portability for multiple container applications. That means developers can work directly with a pre-configured Docker Engine in Microsoft Azure to create Docker applications in multiple containers.

Docker Engine, the underlying mechanism that builds, runs, and orchestrates containers, is scheduled to be integrated into the next release of Windows Server. Further, Docker Engine images for Windows Server will be made available under the partnership on Docker Hub, where more than 45,000 Docker applications are shared by developers. "This will help drive greater developer agility by making available some of the best images for Windows Server and Linux," the partners said in a statement.

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Under the partnership, Docker Hub also will be integrated into the Azure cloud platform through the Azure management portal and Azure Gallery. That would give independent software vendors and cloud developers access to the Docker development community, Microsoft said.

The partners said development of Docker Engine for Windows Server, presumably a reference to a key component of what may also be known as Windows Server 10, would be overseen by the Docker open source project. Microsoft said the partnership would make it an "active community member."

Docker CEO Ben Golub added in a statement that the partners would "provide a framework for building multiplatform distributed applications that can be created with exceptional velocity and deployed and scaled globally."

Messina said he expects further announcements about the growing Docker ecosystem at a company event in Amsterdam in early December, but declined to elaborate.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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