In a major move that bodes well for IT organizations that need to support applications that run in both Linux and Windows environments, Microsoft today announced it will support containers from Docker as a lightweight alternative to virtual machines on the next iteration of Windows Server.
Scott Johnston, senior vice president of product for Docker, says the ability to deploy Docker containers on both operating systems will not only make it simpler to manage applications, it should go a long way toward better defining IT operational responsibilities. Everything inside the container will be the province of the application developer, while everything outside the container will be the responsibility of the IT operations team, says Johnston.
Mike Schultz, general manager of product marketing for the server and tools at Microsoft, would not commit to when integrated development environments (IDE) from Microsoft will support the building of Docker containers, but did concede that would be the next logical step.
In the meantime, Johnston says all the Docker applications currently being built using other tools should be able to run on both Linux and Windows servers. Johnston adds that as part of this alliance, Docker applications residing on the Docker Hub will be accessible from Microsoft Azure, which means they can be ported to run on the Microsoft cloud.
While it’s not expected that containers will completely eliminate the need for virtual machines, it’s clear that, going forward, IT operations teams will be managing applications that run on both forms of virtualization for years to come. The degree to which containers will be deployed versus virtual machines will, of course, vary by organization. But given the fact that it takes a lot less time to spin up a container than it does a virtual machine, chances are that parity between containers and virtual machines in the enterprise will be achieved a lot faster than most IT people currently appreciate.