Docker announced that it has extended its strategic collaboration with Microsoft to simplify code to cloud application development for developers and development teams by more closely integrating with Azure Container Instances (ACI). The deeper collaboration, which also includes tighter integration with Visual Studio Code (VS Code), will allow developers to quickly start new language-specific projects (Node.js, Python, .NET Core/C#), leverage new functionality around the Compose Specification and streamline how they switch from local development to a serverless cloud container service while remaining in the Docker CLI user interface or from within VS Code.
For developers today, there is a vast array of complex tooling and a duplicative set of commands and tasks to go from local desktop to cloud-native development even when leveraging Docker container technology. The result can often be hours and possibly days for development teams to decide on the right cloud environment to meet their requirements and to have that environment successfully set up. And even when those challenges might be overcome, ensuring that there is a consistent local to cloud environment for highly iterative collaboration is not easily achieved.
Together, Docker and Microsoft aim to solve these problems with an easy, friction-free developer experience from local VS Code and Docker Desktop development to remote deployment in ACI. Tighter integration between Docker and Microsoft developer technologies provides the following productivity benefits to developers:
- Easily log into Azure directly from the Docker CLI
- Trigger an ACI cloud container service environment to be set up automatically with easy to use defaults and no infrastructure overhead
- Switch from a local context to a cloud context to quickly and easily run applications
- Simplifies single container and multi-container application development via the Compose specification allowing a developer to invoke fully Docker compatible commands seamlessly for the first time natively within a cloud container service
- Provides developer teams the ability to share their work through Docker Hub by sharing their persistent collaborative cloud development environments where they can do remote pair programming and real-time collaborative troubleshooting
“Developers want simplicity, agility and portability, and development teams want code to cloud solutions that won’t slow them down,” said Scott Johnston, chief executive officer, Docker. “Extending our strategic relationship with Microsoft will further reduce the complexity of building, sharing and running cloud-native, microservices-based applications for developers. Docker and VS Code are two of the most beloved developer tools and we are proud to bring them together to deliver a better experience for developers building container-based apps for Azure Container Instances.”
“We are excited to expand our work with Docker to accelerate developer productivity by enabling them to use native Docker commands to run applications in Azure Container Instances,” said Amanda Silver, corporate vice president of Product for Developer Tools at Microsoft. “This new seamless experience from desktop to cloud means developers can more quickly and easily collaborate and create applications to run in Azure.”
Docker and Azure Container Instances Simplify WindSim’s Developer Workflow
WindSim’s software is the global leader for wind farm planning, helping designers harvest maximum energy from their turbines. It models wind patterns over terrain using CFD which is highly compute-intensive, and currently runs on-premise using powerful hardware.
The company has accelerated its move to a SaaS platform by containerizing the existing application with Docker and running it in the cloud using Azure Container Instances. For WindSim, ACI provides on-demand compute powered by the same Docker runtime that developers and the deployment pipeline use, so the application can run at cloud scale with minimal infrastructural overhead from a tested and trusted container image.
“Using Docker we migrated our 15-year old core application to containers with no code changes, and using ACI we can run that same container at any scale we need,” said Tejo de Groot, chief architect at WindSim. “The POC phase of the project was done in a couple of weeks with a minimal team, and we’re aiming to be live on Azure in Q2 this year.”
“The combination of Docker and ACI has always been powerful, but the new integration massively simplifies the developer workflow,” said Elton Stoneman, director of Sixeyed Consulting and consultant for WindSim who has had early access to the new Docker and ACI integration. “You can deploy containerized apps at cloud scale using simple Docker Compose files and the Docker command line, and have everything running in a managed service in Azure. It’s a genuine alternative to a complex orchestration platform that will work brilliantly for a lot of organizations.”
Docker customers can expect to see the integration with Azure generally available in the second half of 2020.