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Docker Datacenter Launched

Its integration with Microsoft Azure is highlighted.

Docker, the leading container technology in the market, continues to expand its reach into the management sphere. That reach has grown long, in the form of the new Docker Datacenter.

The Docker Datacenter (DDC) is hybrid cloud development and management platform, and was unveiled at DockerCon in Seattle.

Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich demonstrated DDC and how it interoperates with Azure, connecting it to Microsoft's public cloud as well as with the company's forthcoming Azure Stack hybrid cloud environment. Also running on the Azure Stack node was the first-ever public demonstration of SQL Server for Linux.

The appearance and demo by Russinovich, his second at a DockerCon in as many years, showcased progress on a number of fronts by Microsoft to embrace Docker containers, an effort kicked off merely two years ago. While Microsoft's Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview now supports Docker containers and Hyper-V Containers, the focus of today's demonstration was on the new DDC  platform, announced in February and released yesterday for use in the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds.

Available in both companies' respective cloud marketplaces, DDC is designed to allow enterprises and service providers to deploy containers as a service either on-premises or in a virtual private cloud, providing a managed and secure environment that allows developers to build and deploy self-service applications. The DDC includes Docker's Universal Control Plane embedded with the Swarm native clustering tool, Trusted Registry (DTR) 1.4.3 that provides Docker image management, security and an environment for collaboration and the most recent version of the Docker engine runtime.

"Our focus is on getting containers ready for the enterprise and addressing enterprise needs when it comes to running containers in production," Russinovich said as he began his demo. He clicked on DDC in the Azure Marketplace, which launched an Azure Resource Manager template that initiated a form-filled process. "Within a few minutes, I can get a highly available first-class Docker Datacenter cluster up and running up in Azure," he said.

For high availability, he said, at least three controller nodes were needed; he also used eight Docker Swarm cluster nodes. Russinovich also showcased the Docker Trusted Registry, running 68 container images for a voting app container. He demonstrated the building of results containers, which also used a worker container to process them. A bug in the code briefly stalled the demonstration.

Russinovich also demonstrated how DDC is deeply integrated with various services, including the Azure Load Balancer, allowing for the voting and results apps to be on the nodes connected to it. He then showed a different node, called "local Linux," that had a subnet address different than the other nodes. That node was the Azure Stack server running the SQL Server for Linux database instance. Running on a Ubuntu Linux server, Russinovich said it was the first public demonstration of SQL Server for Linux, which the company revealed in March and in private previews. Those with the private previews can access SQL Server for Linux on Ubuntu as Docker images.

"This is essentially Azure on your own hardware in your own datacenter," he said. "Azure Stack includes the infrastructure services of public Azure and some of the platform services, as well as the portal and the API surface that matches public Azure. So we get this consistent experience going from public Azure to on-premises. What we've got here is a hybrid Docker Datacenter Cluster that spans on-prem to public Azure. The VMs on this server are connected to public Azure using a site-to-site virtual private network, for secure connection between these nodes that are on the back end as well as the nodes that are on the front end."

Russinovich also demonstrated the ability to monitor the containers using Microsoft's Operations Management Center service, where an administrator could see different views of the 68 containers running across the production servers.

"What you're seeing for the first time here, and this is kind of mind blowing, Microsoft's SQL Server, running on Linux in a Docker container, on Azure Stack in a Swarm cluster that's hybrid and being managed by Docker Datacenter, running up in public Azure."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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