Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, January 29, 2022

Microsoft Launches Docker on Windows Server 

Container leader Docker is broadening a partnership with Microsoft to run Docker Engine and a datacenter management platform with Windows Server 2016.

The partners rolled out the first technical details of Windows Server containers last August, calling it "the first step in bringing containers to the Windows Server ecosystem."

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Docker said Monday (Sept. 26) the collaboration would make available a "commercially supported" Docker Engine with Windows Server 2016 as the partners seek to drive adoption of containerized applications on enterprise infrastructure.

The huge Windows installed base is widely seen as a key market for application containers. Windows Server is estimated to claim about 60 percent of the x86-based server market. For Microsoft, the collaboration means the underlying engine and interfaces will work for Windows, Linux or hybrid workloads. The container specialist effectively doubles its addressable market while providing partners with more opportunities to contribute to the Windows Server tooling and applications.

Along with support for Docker Engine, the partners said they would jointly promote a Docker Datacenter platform "to secure the Windows Server software supply chain and manage containerized Windows Server workloads" on premises, in the cloud or in hybrid configurations.

Scott Johnston, Docker's COO, added in a blog post that the collaboration represents "single platform for both Windows and Linux applications on any infrastructure, whether bare metal, virtualized, or cloud."

In addition to commercial support for Docker Engine, Microsoft said it is contributing Windows Server container base images and applications to Docker Hub, the cloud-based registry for sharing images.

The extended partnership also brings Docker containers and other Linux projects to the Microsoft Azure cloud as the software giant seeks to make inroads with enterprise cloud customers by providing a new platform for delivering distribution applications and other micro-services.

The partners pitched Docker on Windows Server as enabling the transition of legacy applications to an upgraded application platform that would speed the delivery of applications while adding the ability to migrate workloads to the cloud.

The datacenter management platform meanwhile aims to synch up application developers and infrastructure operators to streamline the software supply chain running on public clouds along with virtual and converged infrastructure, Docker said. Along with Docker Engine, the container runtime and orchestrator, the management platform integrates trusted registry of secure images that can be stored on-premises or within a virtual private cloud. The third component is a control plane used to manage and deploy applications delivered in Docker containers that can run on private infrastructure or on a public cloud.

Windows Server 2016 is scheduled for release in mid-October, at which time the first version of the commercially supported Docker Engine will be available for download. The partners said Docker Datacenter for managing Windows Server containerized workloads is available for Linux environments; the release of a beta version for Windows Servers is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Along with the Docker release, Microsoft earlier previewed Windows Server support Hyper-V containers, emphasizing the need for virtual machine isolation to securely run multiple containers on a virtual machine without sacrificing density.

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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