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

Microsoft is among the many cloud and Linux vendors supporting the first release of the open-source Docker application-deployment engine.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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

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