Microsoft looks forward to the day when customers will run Windows containers, built with the popular Docker Engine, on the Azure public cloud and in the enterprise data center in a coordinated fashion.
Microsoft displayed that vision June 21 at DockerCon 2016, which is underway in Seattle.
Docker containers still don't run natively under the production versions of Windows Server, but they're slated to later this year when Windows Server 2016 becomes generally available. Windows Server 2016 is now in its fifth technical preview. Its preview release can run Windows Containers. It's expected to become generally available in the third quarter.
Microsoft is making Docker Datacenter, an end-to-end container management system, available on its Azure Marketplace. That's the company's online store, where open source and preconfigured applications are available to work with Windows systems. By giving Windows developers a chance to get acquainted with Docker Datacenter, they will be ready to use Docker Engine as Windows Containers become part of Microsoft's product line.
Microsoft has worked closely with Docker to ensure the Docker Engine will run under Windows Server 2016.
Windows Azure CTO Mark Russinovich wrote in a June 21 blog that Docker Datacenter could be used to manage Windows Containers deployed across both the Azure public cloud and an Azure Stack. The latter allows an Azure-like software environment to be deployed behind the firewall as a private cloud system.
"A hybrid cloud solution that can manage container-based applications across on-premises and cloud infrastructure is a compelling proposition," Russinovich wrote.
Microsoft is seeking to make containers, a technology that was pioneered in the Linux community, first-class citizens on Azure. The move keeps Microsoft more closely in step with the large contingent of developers who wish to use containers as a convenient packaging device for code. It also makes Azure a suitable environment for future applications being developed for containerized operations.
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