Docker Inc. Extends Tools Alliance With Microsoft

Docker Inc. and Microsoft announced today tighter integration between Docker Desktop developer tools from Docker Inc. and Visual Studio (VS) Code developer tools from Microsoft and the container service running on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Justin Graham, vice president of products for Docker Inc., said the goal is to reduce complexity by removing as much of the friction as possible when building containerized applications within either a Windows or Linux environment.

Announced prior to the online DockerCon 2020 event tomorrow, Graham said the tighter between developer tools is enabled in part by a Compose Specification that is being jointly developed by Docker Inc., Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS). That specification promises to create a new standard for defining multi-container applications. In the case of Microsoft, the Docker Compose specification will streamline switching from local development to a serverless cloud container service while remaining in the Docker CLI user interface or VS Code.

Other advances include making it easier to log into Azure directly from the Docker CLI, the ability to automatically trigger an Azure Container Infrastructure (ACI) cloud container service environment and the ability to share their work through Docker Hub in a cloud development environment. Integration between Docker Desktop and ACI is scheduled to be available in the second half of 2020.

Graham said the ability to employ native Docker commands to build applications using VS Code should double or triple the base of developers capable of building containerized applications. That capability is arriving just as many IT organizations that rely on Microsoft are starting to embrace containers and Kubernetes on both Azure and instances of Windows Server running in on-premises IT environments.

In addition, Graham notes many Microsoft developers will be building applications that are deployed on the network edge, especially as Microsoft extends its cloud reach via 5G wireless networking services.

In terms of containerized applications, Microsoft has aggressively embraced Kubernetes in its Linux environments on Azure. Most organizations that rely on Windows platforms to run applications are still coming up to speed on containers. However, given how widely employed VS Code is to build applications, the number of Windows platforms running containerized applications should dramatically increase in the months ahead.

Most of those applications are likely to be deployed in a cloud service in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications built using cloud-native technologies such as containers tend to be both more flexible and resilient, which has now become a bigger concern with millions of end users working from home for an unknown period of time.

Of course, there are millions of existing Windows applications that will be migrated to the cloud as well. Many of those applications will initially be lifted into the cloud using containers, with developers then using tools such as VS Code and Docker Desktop to modernize them by breaking them up into microservices.

Obviously, none of this transformation will occur overnight. However, now that the tools are more readily available it soon will become a lot more feasible for more organizations to engage such an ambitious undertaking.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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