Docker Inc. today announced a partnership with Microsoft to extend support for the popular open-source Docker container virtualization engine to Windows servers.
Docker Inc. is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Docker container technology, which started out as being available only on Linux operating systems. The new Docker partnership with Microsoft is an extension of work that first began earlier this year.
"Microsoft and Docker have already partnered, with Docker 1.0 being a part of Azure since June," David Messina, vice president of enterprise marketing at Docker, told eWEEK. "Our announcement is a logical extension of the work we have already begun together."
Docker 1.0 was released in June along with commercial support and the Docker Hub for applications and developer life cycle services.
The extended partnership with Microsoft will bring Docker to Microsoft Server enterprise customers as well as the cloud.
"Microsoft will be contributing directly to the Docker community to make the Docker for Windows Server a full-featured equivalent of the existing Docker Engine for Linux runtime," Messina said.
In terms of any financial elements of the Microsoft-Docker partnership, Messina noted that no information has been disclosed on that front.
On Linux operating systems, Docker has made use of some existing open-source capabilities that it builds on top of. Among those capabilities is the open-source LXC (Linux Containers) project. In addition, control groups (cgroups) and namespaces in the Linux kernel help provide isolation and security.
"At a high level, Windows will be incorporating capabilities that are the equivalent of cgroups and namespaces in the Linux world," Messina said. "Without talking specific details, we would defer to Microsoft, but that kernel-level capability will be there."
One of the promises of Docker is that it can enable an easy deployment model for applications. Any Linux host with a Docker Engine on it can run nearly any Dockerized application. With the move to support Windows Server, applications will still need to target Windows or Linux, though the packaging of the application will be easier to do.
"If a Dockerized app is a modular component of a distributed application, that component will be either Windows- or Linux-based, but for the first time the distributed application can in and of itself be hybrid," Messina said, "allowing the developer to choose the best of both worlds from content that will be in Docker hub."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.