Docker container support coming to Microsoft's next Windows Server release

Microsoft is building new container technologies into the next Windows Server release, enabling Dockerized applications to run on Windows Server on-premises or on Azure.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Docker container support will be part of the next release of Microsoft's Windows Server, officials from Microsoft and Docker Inc. announced on October 15.


Microsoft is building "new container technologies" into the Windows Server update expected by mid 2015. Customers will be able to create Docker container applications that will run on Windows Server on-premises or hosted on Windows Server Next running in a virtual machine on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

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

Since June 2014, Microsoft has made it possible for users to run Docker apps on Linux on Azure.

Under the terms of the agreement announced today, the Docker Engine open source runtime for building, running and orchestrating containers will work with the next version of Windows Server. The Docker Engine for Windows Server will be developed as a Docker open source project, with Microsoft participating as an active community member. Docker Engine images for Windows Server will be available in the Docker Hub. The Docker Hub will also be integrated directly into Azure so that it is accessible through the Azure Management Portal and Azure Gallery. Microsoft also will be contributing to Docker's open orchestration application programming interfaces (APIs).

If you're wondering what the "new container technologies" in Windows Server Next will be, join the club. I thought Microsoft might be using its Microsoft Research Drawbridge technologies to provide this functionality, but I hear from my contacts that this is not the case. Microsoft officials are not providing any specifics at this time about the coming container technologies. Maybe we'll hear more on this front when Microsoft makes the next major preview available of Windows Server Next — something sources say is targeted for January 2015 or so.

Microsoft made a first technical preview of its upcoming Windows Server release available on October 1, alongside the technical preview Windows 10 client. Windows Server Next, which may ultimately be named Windows Server 2015 (or something else if Microsoft deviates from its current server naming conventions) includes new Active Directory Federation, Remote Desktop, Hyper-V and networking capabilities.

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