Microsoft partners with Docker to bring containers to Windows Server

Docker has up to now been only on Azure and Linux.

docker windows microsoft

Docker, the open source software company and product of the same name that allows developers to build, distribute, and run distributed applications, is bringing its software to the next version of Windows Server thanks to a new deal with Microsoft.

The Docker software provides a layer of abstraction and automation of operating system–level virtualization features on Linux, thereby isolating the resources of the kernel in containers. It uses less in the way of system resources, which translates into lower overhead than virtual machines. You can run multiple containers on one server and define how much memory, CPU, and network I/O is given to each container.

Docker has been doing extremely well since it launched just over a year ago. It supports Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack Nova, OpenSVC, CFEngine, Chef, Jenkins, Puppet, Salt, Vagrant and more infrastructure tools. The company has raised $55 million in venture money and has a deal with Red Hat for collaboration and integration of the software with the Red Hat operating systems.

While it already supported Azure, this news is a first in that it will support a future version of Windows Server. Microsoft doesn't upgrade Server as rapidly as the desktop client; the last version came out in 2012 and there hasn't been much talk since then about a refresh. With Server 2003 reaching end of life in July 2015, Microsoft is more focused on getting people off that decade-old version.

This news fits nicely with CEO Satya Nadella's "mobile-first, cloud-first" strategy. Docker will help developers develop, test, and run multiple applications independently of one another and test changes in real time.

As part of the deal, the Docker Engine, the main component in the product, will work with the next release of Windows Server and will be integrated into Microsoft Azure directly through the Azure Management Portal and Azure Gallery.

Microsoft will contribute to Docker's open orchestration APIs, ensuring portability for multi-container applications. This means developers will be able to directly work with a preconfigured Docker Engine in Azure to create a multi-container Docker application.

The Docker Engine for Windows Server will be developed as an open source project and Microsoft plans to participate as an active community member. Currently, Docker is one of the most popular projects on GitHub.

Microsoft and Docker plan to demonstrate the new Docker capabilities for Azure during Docker's Global Hack Day on October 30 and at Microsoft's TechEd Europe conference in Barcelona later this month.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.