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Docker app for Windows 10 now in limited beta

Docker is launching a limited beta program for its new Docker for Windows and Docker for Mac apps.

Docker launched today, March 24, a limited beta program for Docker for Windows and Docker for Mac.

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Docker is billing the two new apps as "the simplest way to use Docker on your laptop." The apps are meant for developers building, assembling, and shipping applications from Mac or Windows.

Currently, to use Docker on Windows, developers have to jump through a number of hoops, including installing the VirtualBox virtualization application. Using the new Docker for Windows app, users won't need to do that, as the Docker engine will run in a Hyper-V virtual machine on Windows. (On Mac, the Docker engine runs in an Alpine Linux distribution on top of an xhyve virtual machine on Mac OS X.)

Docker execs said the native Windows interface and auto-update capability will make for deeper itnegration and less dependency hell. It also should make Docker run faster and more reliably, they said.

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"Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows are at different stages of development, although they do share a significant code base," blogged Patrick Chanezon, a member of the Docker technical staff and formerly a Director of Enterprise Evangelism at Microsoft. "Docker for Windows will initially be rolled out to users at a slower pace but will eventually offer all the same functionality as Docker for Mac. Docker for Windows currently only ships on Windows 10 editions that support Hyper-V."

The limited preview sign up page for both Docker apps is here.

Docker is an open source engine that automates application deployment. Docker uses containers, in lieu of virtual machines, to enable multiple applications to be run at once on the same server. Docker support is a key part of Microsoft's evolving microservices strategy.

Microsoft has made it possible for users to run Docker apps on Linux on Azure. More recently, Microsoft has partnered with Docker to bring Docker support to Windows Server. And Microsoft's Azure Container Service builds on top of work the Azure team has done with Dockerand Mesosphere to deliver a production ready container service that is based on Docker, Apache Mesos and open source components from Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System (DCOS).

In related news, Microsoft made an investment of an unknown amount in Mesosphere today.