Docker containers are coming to Windows

Microsoft announced general availability support for Docker Container Engine in Windows Server 2016

When most people think of application containers – one of the most popular new trends in how software is built and run by developers – they associate the technology very closely with Linux.

Now, Docker Inc. – perhaps the most well-known container startup - is teaming up with Microsoft to integrate Docker Engine in Windows Server.

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Microsoft announced the news at its Ignite event in Atlanta this week, along with the general availability of Windows Server and Windows Systems Center 2016.

What does this Microsoft-Docker integration mean? Basically, users can run Docker containers in Windows operating systems just like they do in a Linux OS.

docker windows Microsoft containers Docker

Docker Engine, integrated with Windows Server, now controls both Windows and Linux-based application containers. 

Because containers are so tightly coupled to the OS, technically there’s a big difference between Windows containers and Linux containers. Containers are derived from the kernel of the operating system, so Linux and Windows containers have a different foundation. But with Docker Engine being integrated into Windows Server, Windows and Linux containers can at least be managed the same way. That means the same application-programming interface (API) calls that developers and operators use to manage Linux containers will work with Windows containers. All of the third-party tools that work with Linux containers around logging and monitoring container usage, networking containers together and scheduling container runtimes will all work in the same command line interface in Docker engine whether a Linux of Windows OS is being used.

Docker says 63% of enterprise workloads run Windows. With this integration, those workloads are able to be packaged into containers and controlled by one of the most popular container management platforms.

“This makes it incredibly easy for developers and IT admins to leverage container based deployments using Windows Server 2016,” Microsoft executive vice president of cloud and enterprise Scott Guthrie said on stage at Ignite.

Docker first introduced technical preview and then beta support for Windows Containers two years ago. Docker support in Windows Server will be no additional cost to Windows Server customers. Windows Server pricing starts at $882/per license. For more detail on the partnership, read the Docker blog here.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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