August 21, 2017

When it comes to hosting containers on Windows Server in the cloud, it looks like Microsoft is no longer the only game in town. Atlantic.Net has added a Windows Server Container service to its portfolio of cloud services. Atlantic.Net CEO Marty Puranik says in the time since Microsoft delivered on its promise to deliver support for Docker containers in Windows Server 2016, demand for a cloud service to both develop and host those applications has significantly increased.

The core issue many organizations wrestle with, he says, is the systems developers employ locally to create Docker applications rarely reflect the production environment where those applications will be deployed. Building and then hosting those applications using the same cloud service eliminates all the issues that typically arise when an application developed on a local workstation won’t run a server in the data center.

Atlantic.Net, says Puranik, differentiates itself from Microsoft Azure by making it much easier for developers to service their own needs versus having to master a broad range of Azure services and application programming interfaces (APIs).

As Windows developers start to become more comfortable with building applications using Docker containers, he notes, the rate of applications being deployed in the cloud should accelerate dramatically. In many cases, IT operations teams will not have the resources or processes in place required to meet accelerated application release cycles. In those scenarios, developers will be more likely to programmatically invoke a cloud service to host those applications, says Puranik.

At the same time, many IT organizations may employ Docker containers to lift and shift existing enterprise applications into the cloud. Once accessible via a standard Docker API, it becomes much easier to make those applications part of a larger microservices architecture. Over time, many of those IT organizations will deconstruct those monolithic applications into a series of microservices that are easier to upgrade and support.

Of course, Microsoft views Docker containers as being core to evolving hybrid cloud computing strategy that will differentiate it from arch cloud rival Amazon Web Services (AWS). In that context, Microsoft envisions IT organizations will deploy Docker applications on premises or in the cloud as business circumstances warrant, versus trying to force every application on to a public cloud.

Naturally, Microsoft is not the only platform provider harboring hybrid cloud computing ambitions tied to Docker containers. But Microsoft has made it clear that Docker containers are now core to its overall strategy. As such, the level of resources that Microsoft is bringing to bear on Docker technologies is immense. Microsoft has also partnered over the years with a small army of hosting providers such as Atlantic.Net to make Windows Server available as a service. As the service providers start to embrace Docker containers, the number of options IT organizations will have to deploy Docker applications on Windows Server running in the cloud will increase exponentially.

Obviously, Microsoft and its partners are a little late to the Docker container game. But what they may have lacked in early agility they are about to make up for in size.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.