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Docker, Kubernetes Updates Show Microsoft's Container Focus

"Docker and containers come up more and more in conversations that we have with .NET developers. It has become the way to deploy server applications for many people, due to its primary benefits of consistency and a light-weight alternative to virtual machines."

Those are the words of Rich Lander, program manager on the Common Language Runtime team, announcing some Docker updates yesterday that make it easier for .NET coders to use containers.

On the same day, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), with new regions, more features and productivity gains for the service providing the increasingly popular container orchestration technology.

While Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella probably won't be working up a sweat jumping around a stage shouting, "containers, containers, containers!" the company is clearly ramping up its focus on the technology.

"In the DockerCon keynote, there were multiple .NET demos showing how you can use Docker for modern applications and for older applications that use traditional architectures," Lander said in yesterday's blog post. "It has become a lot easier to containerize .NET applications using tools from both Microsoft and Docker."

Lander -- writing during the ongoing DockerCon 2018 show -- pointed out new Docker workflows, along with developer guidance, and new samples for .NET Core and .NET Framework to facilitate development, CI/CD and production. "We also offer many more images for both Windows and Linux. If you haven't taken a look at Docker and .NET recently, now is a good time."

Lander went on to explore The three major scenarios to consider when looking at adopting Docker:

  • Building source code
  • Testing binaries
  • Running applications/services in production

"You can probably see that we're much farther along in our approach of using .NET and Docker together than our initial 2017 post on the topic," Lander concluded. "We're far from done everything that one can imagine with the container space, but have provided a much more complete foundation for you to use as you adopt Docker."

Azure developers embracing containers, meanwhile, were shown some love in the new AKS service that just hit GA in a blog post authored by Brendan Burns, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft Azure, who recapped the company's efforts on Kubernetes, which is quickly becoming the de facto container orchestration choice for many developers.

Burns pointed out that over the last two years Microsoft has:

"We've also seen incredible growth in Kubernetes on Azure, with five times the number of customers and ten times the usage of a year ago," Burns said.

With reaching general availability, the AKS service is now available in five new Azure regions around the globe.

In addition to the keynote, Microsoft's heightened focus on Docker, Kubernetes and containers in general is exemplified in several other DockerCon sessions, exploring topics like extending Kubernetes to Windows Server with Docker Enterprise Edition. This, according to the conference blog, details capabilities "that will allow organizations to federate applications across Docker Enterprise Edition environments deployed on-premises and in the cloud as well as across cloud-hosted Kubernetes. This includes Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)."

Furthermore, the DockerCon blog says, "Docker and Microsoft have been working together since 2014 to bring containers to Windows and .NET applications. Today at DockerCon, we share the next step in this partnership with the preview and demonstration of Kubernetes on Windows Server with Docker Enterprise Edition."

The container embrace continues on other fronts, as well, as Microsoft just announced the preview of a Visual Studio extension that simplifies the Kubernetes experience in Microsoft's flagship IDE.

Meanwhile, Lander promised: "We'll continue to make improvements to make the container experience better."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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