Microsoft provided more insight into its open source efforts as the software giant hosted an online Azure OpenDev event. The proceedings included commentary on Microsoft open source plans, and partners touting opportunities and challenges in supporting cloud-based initiatives.
John Gossman, lead architect for Microsoft Azure, kicked off the event by laying out Microsoft’s four-pronged approach to open source.
These include enabling open source projects; the offering of hosted open source-based platforms as an “as-a-service” model; continued release of Microsoft projects as open source; and the need for Microsoft to contribute code and backing to the open source community.
Gossman said those efforts will allow the company to “collaborate in a new way with customers and competitors.” As an example of Microsoft’s commitment to open source, Gossman said one of his colleagues in the company’s Windows team has been the most prolific contributor to Docker over the past 12 months.
More recently, Microsoft joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which manages the open source cloud application platform.
Microsoft has also been aggressive in the burgeoning open source container space. The firm earlier this year acquired Deis, which is expected to bolster the company’s Azure Container Service. Microsoft also recently updated its Nano Server and Server Core products, along with increasing support for Linux containers and workloads.
Microsoft’s container strategy has been seen as lagging behind some rivals, though analysts note the company has made significant progress in the space.
“Although the Windows Server Container ecosystem is no doubt many months behind that of Linux, [Microsoft] has been doing a good job building out its container functionality and providing its customers with a reason to upgrade,” noted Cowen and Company in a recent report.
Docker Ties to Microsoft
Docker Inc. joined the Microsoft event, touting recent work with Microsoft in support of the Azure cloud platform and increased use of Docker Inc.’s container orchestration service.
Michael Friis, product manager at Docker Inc., explained its Docker Consumer Edition platform can provide a “fully configured Docker Swarm running on Azure.” Docker Swarm is the firm’s container orchestration package.
Docker Inc. COO Scott Johnston also touched on a recent agreement with Avanade, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Microsoft. The program is designed for enterprises looking to modernize legacy applications into hybrid cloud deployments.
Johnston said moving legacy applications to a container hosted in the cloud makes them more portable and more efficient as they “use less than half of the resources as before.” Johnston said the collaboration is finding market opportunities.
“Customers are looking for a migration path for microservices,” Johnston said. “They want a step-by-step evolutionary approach, not a one-and-done approach.” He said early efforts have shown the ability to transfer some legacy applications in as little as five days. That was claimed to be up to four-times quicker than past efforts.
Microsoft has been long-rumored in talks about acquiring Docker Inc., with reports last year of a $4 billion offer being put on the table. While a deal was obviously not struck, analysts continue to note an opportunity.
“The next 12-24 months could determine whether Docker Inc. chooses to remain an independent entity, based on commercial performance,” Cowen and Company stated. “If Docker were to sell itself, we view [Microsoft] as the most likely buyer.”