Microsoft has announced a limited preview of Windows Server Containers (WSC) support for the Azure Container Service in its cloud platform, opening the latter to Windows Server developers for the first time.
WSC is part of Microsoft's move to bring a container-driven application approach to the Windows Server ecosystem, in part through collaboration with Docker.
A public beta of the technology was made available last year in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3, but the firm is now adding the same support to the Azure public cloud platform, initially as part of a private preview for which interested parties will have to apply to gain access.
The Azure Container Service has been generally available since April, and is designed to make it simpler to create, configure and manage a cluster of virtual machines in the cloud that are pre-configured to run containerised applications. It offers a choice between the Docker Swarm and DC/OS open source container orchestration tools.
The preview allows customers to trial Windows Server Containers on the Azure Container Service, but Docker Swarm is the only currently supported orchestrator tool, Microsoft said.
"Azure is founded on maximum choice for all developers and IT pros. With this preview, we're opening the ACS to Windows Server developers for the first time," said Saurya Das, Microsoft's open source product manager for Azure, on the Azure Blog.
Windows Server 2016 has yet to be released. The most recent update was Technical Preview 5 at the end of April, which Microsoft described as feature complete, making it still on track for planned general availability sometime in the third quarter.
Microsoft will actually support two ways of operating containerised applications with Windows Server 2016. As well as WSC there is Hyper-V Containers, where each container runs inside a special virtual machine to deliver kernel-level isolation between each Hyper-V container and the host server.
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