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Docker Branches Out

Docker announced several big betas during DockerCon. Sign-ups are available for those interested in AWS, Azure, Mac, and Windows Docker support.

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Docker fans rejoice!

Your favorite containment environment announced several newly supported platforms during DockerCon.

With the release of Docker 1.12, just in time for DockerCon, the folks at Docker announced four long-awaited betas: support for Amazon Web Services (docs), Microsoft Azure (docs) and native apps for both Mac (docs) and Windows (doc(k)s).

One thing to note: The Azure and AWS betas are private and require you to sign up.  If they run out of space, you'll be added to a waiting list. Meanwhile, the Mac and Windows betas are public. Both betas are free, though there are still resource charges to consider.

According to the two blog posts making the announcements, there are several common goals across all four platforms. Setting aside some minor differences in vocabulary, they boil down to:

  • Ease of deployment: The Mac and Windows betas utilize an installer, and the AWS/Azure betas deploy a standard Docker platform that will allow you to move your apps from your laptop to staging and production environments while avoiding incompatibilities or locks.

  • Integration: The AWS/Azure and the Mac/Windows betas are designed to mesh with the native systems to present familiar faces to the users. This should reduce the time it takes to learn your way around a new interface.

  • Fluid updates: "Updating to a new Docker version is seamless: Docker will gradually start new manager nodes and switch them into the manager quorum. Worker nodes are then drained of containers before incrementally getting switched onto the new version to complete the update," Michael Friis said in the AWS/Azure beta announcement.

Mac and Windows

In particular, users have eagerly anticipated the Mac and Windows betas. More than 70,000 users signed up for the private beta when it was announced in March. The idea was to get rid of the need for VirtualBox, replacing it with hypervisor support

The Docker crew also wanted it to be more lightweight for Mac and Windows. The beta offers "in-container debugging and development by improving volume support to automatically notify Docker Engine when a file changes and update it in the container," according to Docker's Mano Marks in his announcement of the public beta. "This allows you to get started developing with just a text editor and Docker, without having to install run-times and dependencies."

Finally, for Mac and Windows users, the beta offers native networking, making it easy to connect to VPNs.

Azure and AWS

To keep things simple, the team made sure you can use your current SSH key. Furthermore, as apps are created and changed, Docker will dynamically tweak the load balancers — which come already provisioned. 

And because developers continue to demand more control over security-related decisions, the environment allows you to "configure security groups and virtual networks to create secure Docker setups that are easy for operations to understand and manage," Friis said in his announcement of the private betas.

Another feature of note is the out-of-the-box swarm mode. "Swarm mode means that the individual Docker engines form into a self-organizing, self-healing swarm, distributed across availability zones for durability," Friis said.

And it could just be the beginning. In his post, Friis mentions that those betas kick off an enhanced presence for swarm mode — "Docker for AWS and Azure both start a fleet of Docker 1.12 Engines with swarm mode enabled out of the box."

So, if you love Docker but wish it was a bit more accessible, then congratulations, it's been a good day for you.

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docker,docker 1.12,microsoft azure,aws,windows,mac,dockercon 2016

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