Docker 'Swarms' Onto Microsoft's Cloud

Microsoft announces support for Docker's awaited orchestration tools on its Azure cloud computing platform.

Microsoft Azure

In line with the beta releases of Docker Machine and Swarm, Microsoft today announced that customers can try out the new orchestration tools on its Azure cloud computing platform.

Docker is an open-source container virtualization technology that is quickly gaining ground among major technology vendors. Instead of the traditional virtual hypervisor model, in which each virtual machine requires its own guest operating system, Docker packages apps into containers, eliminating the need for guest OSes and requiring just one host operating system.

On Oct, 15, Microsoft and Docker Inc., Docker's lead commercial backer, announced a partnership to bring the technology to Windows Server. Last month, Microsoft announced its first Docker image on the Azure Marketplace, Docker on Ubuntu Server by Canonical and Microsoft Open Tech. IBM, Google and Amazon are also big supporters.

Now, two more eagerly awaited Docker technologies join Microsoft's cloud ecosystem, paving the way for more enterprise adoption. "Today, I am excited to announce that we are joining Docker, Inc. in announcing the beta releases of Docker Machine and Docker Swarm on Azure and Docker Machine support on Hyper-V," said Corey Sanders, director of program management for Microsoft Azure, in a Feb. 26 announcement.

"We also plan to directly support Docker Compose in the Azure provisioning pipeline, using our Docker Azure extension." Docker Compose, a multi-container app orchestration tool, was also released today.

"With Compose, you define your application's components—their containers, their configuration, links, volumes, and so on—in a single file, then you can spin everything up with a single command that does everything that needs to be done to get your application running," explained Docker Inc. in a blog post today. In future releases of the tool, the company plans "to make Compose integrate smoothly with Docker Swarm, so you can let Swarm intelligently schedule your containers across a multi-host cluster while using Compose to manage them at the application level."

Over at Microsoft, customers can start spinning up their own cloud-based Docker environments and begin testing their deployments using their preferred platforms.

"With today's announcement, you can automate Docker host creation on Azure using the Docker Machine client on Linux or Windows," said Sanders. "Additionally, Docker Machine provides you the ability to manage and configure your hosts from a single remote client."

Swarm support, meanwhile, allows Azure customers to leverage Docker's native clustering and scheduling features. "Like Docker Machine, developers can choose their infrastructure, including Azure Virtual Machines, and scale as required for their dev, test, or production environments," he added.

Finally, Sanders revealed that his group is working on incorporating Docker Compose's one-file configuration model into Azure's management workflows.

"In Azure, we are working to expand our current Docker extension to support passing of the YAML configuration directly through our REST APIs, CLI, or portal. This will make the simple even simpler, so you can just drop your YAML file details into the Azure portal and we take care of the rest," Sanders said.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...