Microsoft Onboards Docker To Provide Windows Containers On Azure Cloud

The trend is clear. Cloud and Docker are growing closer. And Microsoft isn’t staying behind. Last week Microsoft announced adding support for containers to its Windows Server and Azure cloud.

Microsoft’s interest in containers isn’t new. Last year Microsoft already officially added support for Docker containers on Linux VMs in its Azure cloud. Then, late last year it partnered with Docker to bring containers also to Windows Server instances.

Interesting to note that as part of its containers effort, Microsoft actively collaborated with the Docker community, including code contributions to the open source project. This is part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to expand open source involvement to gain foothold with emerging technologies.

Microsoft addresses the soft spots of the open source technology, aiming at needs of enterprises around security and hybrid IT. In a blog post by Windows Server GM Mike Neil he explains that:

heightened levels of trust may be required for enterprise systems or in hosted environments. Furthermore, developers often deploy into mixed operational environments where they may not have control of the platform where the application is deployed.

With the latest announcement Microsoft now offers, in addition to the Windows Server containers, also Hyper-V containers – containers built on top of Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor technology. Hyper-V has been Microsoft’s response to VMware and KVM around “classic” virtualization, and Microsoft is now trying to leverage that to bring better isolation and security to containers. The challenge is to keep it efficient and avoid excess overhead of the multiple virtualization layers. We’ll have to see how well that works out.

The latest announcement also unveils the Nano Server, a slim version of Windows Server, optimized for running containers in the cloud. They promise minimal footprint in image sizes, deployment times, network bandwidth etc. Also important is that the technologies should be interchangeable, so that anything developed for one could be deployed also on the other without modifications. This will help supporting hybrid IT environments.

Microsoft will officially unveil and demo its new container offering end of this month at its BUILD developer conference. Then we’ll hear the verdict of the developer community.

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Filed under Cloud, DevOps

6 responses to “Microsoft Onboards Docker To Provide Windows Containers On Azure Cloud

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