Here's how Microsoft is supporting the open-source Docker container model

Here's how Microsoft is supporting the open-source Docker container model

Summary: Microsoft is among the many cloud and Linux vendors supporting the first release of the open-source Docker application-deployment engine.


Docker, the open-source engine that automates application deployment, hit the 1.0 milestone this week.


Cloud vendors, including Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace and Google -- along with major Linux vendors like Canonical and Red Hat -- are all onboard in their support of Docker.

Docker uses containers, in lieu of virtual machines, to enable multiple applications to be run at once on the same server, as my ZDNet colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explained. It's a platform for developers and systems administrators who want to configure and deploy distributed apps more easily.

Docker testers already were able to run pre-release versions of Docker on Azure in Linux virtual machines. But during the DockerCon show this week, Microsoft representatives demonstrated Docker deployment into an Azure Linux virtual machine using Azure's Virtual Machine Extensions.

When running on Azure, Docker integrates with Microsoft's cross-platform Azure CLI toolset, allowing users to more simply launch Docker on Azure. Users don't have to log into each Docker host in Azure separately; instead they can run configuration commands for each host using the Docker client on their desktops/laptops.


Microsoft officials made the source code available, and promised to merge the company's fork of the Azure command-line interface (CLI) tools back into the main project. They also committed to providing tutorials and more info on Docker, going forward.

There's been some speculation that with its next version of its ASP.NET framework, codenamed Project K, Microsoft might end up building "Docker for .Net," given that the next ASP.NET allows users to deploy their preferred versions of the .Net Framework on an app-by-app-basis. But this isn't quite the case. From what I've heard, the ASP.NET v.Next team is, instead, focusing on making the next version of ASP.NET more packable into a Docker container.

In the even longer term, Microsoft is continuing to look at new ways of delivering applications, including by using the library OS model. Microsoft Research's Drawbridge project is looking to advance virtualization in a way that doesn't require virtual machines.

There's no word on when or if Microsoft plans to productize Drawbridge, but last year there was a job post on the Microsoft careers site that mentioned Drawbridge being hosted on Windows Azure

Topics: Virtualization, Cloud, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • surely they lose out on OS lisence costs

    Containers look Interesting and flatter alternative to Virtual Machines. But surely Microsoft would lose out on all those Guest OS licences across all those VMs.
    • So you think they get to host it on Azure for free?

    • I think you are under-estimating MS marketing people.

      I am sure they can find a way to charge on a per-container or per-app basis.
      • Mrs Foley is once again naive...

        ...because Microsoft doesn't want to support FLOSS. Instead its aim is to kill open source and Linux. So far M$ has totally failed.
        • ???

          Do you actually believe the s&^% you post?
          Rann Xeroxx
    • ok but

      they charge per compute, space, bandwidth and more important, keep google irrelevant in the cloud and amazon under strong pressure.
  • Monetizing it is easy

    Money is made from licensing; use the right wording and you can make money
  • Interesting but...

    As a developer, being able to focus on my application and easily package it in a container to make deployments easy is great. But really what I want is to not have to worry about the underlying infrastructure (whether they are VMs or physical hosts). Something like or StackDock abstracts this away. Will Microsoft be providing a container native cloud?