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Microsoft Extends Support for New Docker Orchestration Tools

Docker today released several new tools aimed at letting IT pros and developers build and manage distributed applications that are compatible across environments including Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, Joyent, Mesosphere, Microsoft and VMware.

Over the past year, these players have pledged support for Docker's open source container environment, which has quickly emerged as the next-generation architecture for developing and provisioning distributed apps. Today's beta releases are key deliverables by Docker and its ecosystem partners to advance the building, orchestration and management of the container-based platform.

For its part, Microsoft said it is supporting the newly released betas of Docker Machine (download here), the orchestration tool that gives IT pros and developers the ability to automate the provisioning and management of Docker containers on Linux or Windows Servers; and Docker Swarm, a tool that lets developers select infrastructures for their apps including Azure virtual machines. Microsoft also said it will natively support the new Docker Compose developer tool as a Docker Azure extension.

The new Docker Machine beta allows administrators to select an infrastructure to deploy an application built in the new environment. Microsoft has contributed drivers in Azure that allow for rapid and agile development of Docker hosts on Azure Virtual Machines. "There are several advantages to using Docker Machine, including the ability to automate the creation of your Docker VM hosts on any compatible OS and across many infrastructure options," said Corey Sanders, Microsoft's director of Azure program management, in a post on the Microsoft Azure blog.  

"With today's announcement, you can automate Docker host creation on Azure using the Docker Machine client on Linux or Windows," he added. "Additionally, Docker Machine provides you the ability to manage and configure your hosts from a single remote client. You no longer have to connect to each host separately to perform basic monitoring and management tasks, giving you the flexibility and efficiencies of centralized devops management."

With Docker Swarm, which spins a pool of Docker hosts into one virtual host, IT pros can deploy their container-based apps and workloads using the native Docker clustering and scheduling functions, Sanders added. It also lets customers select cloud infrastructure such as Azure, enabling them to scale as needs necessitate for dev and test. Sanders noted that using the Docker CLI, customers can deploy Swarm to enable scheduling across multiple hosts. The Docker Swarm beta is available for download on Github.

The Docker Compose tool enables and simplifies modeling of multi-container Docker solutions using the declarative YAML file format. "This single file will be able to take a developer-modeled application across any environment and generate a consistent deployment, offering even more agility to applications across infrastructure," Sanders noted. "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."

Microsoft said it will be releasing documentation to build Docker hosts on Azure virtual machines using a Docker Machine.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/26/2015 at 12:53 PM


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