Microsoft has announced that it is building "new container technologies" into a Windows Server update to be released by mid-2015.

Customers of Windows Server will be able to create Docker container applications that run on Windows Server using a virtual machine on Microsoft's Azure cloud.

"The strength of Windows Server in the enterprise makes its inclusion into the Docker project a watershed event for the Docker community and ecosystem," said Solomon Hykes, chief technology officer and founder of Docker. "Creating a common approach and user interface for containerization and distributed applications will catalyze a new wave of applications that will be transformative across all organizations."

In partnering, the two companies will allow developers to create different and new business scenarios, which will let Microsoft's server and cloud partners benefit from the Docker open source community.

Microsoft has allowed users to run Docker apps on Linux on Azure since June, but the new agreement will allow the Docker Engine to run on upcoming versions of Windows Server.

"This is a strategic partnership for Microsoft and Docker. It will result in new technology in a future product wave for Windows Server," said Jason Zander, corporate VP at Microsoft. "It will bring the technology richness of Windows Server and .Net to the Docker community."

Up until now, Microsoft has been concentrating on Windows containers as a research project for the company. The company has said that containers were coming to Windows and that the Microsoft Drawbridge system would make them easier to manage. No mention of a partnership with Docker had been made, however, until now. Docker is an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship, and run distributed applications.

Microsoft has also been a supporter of Google's Kubernetes Project, announced in July. The project was aimed at building a system for orchestration and group management of containers. Companies like IBM and Red Hat, along with Microsoft and Google, have been working together to accomplish those goals.

The Docker-Microsoft partnership will also be aimed at keeping in mind the fact that the world is becoming more mobile and cloud friendly. Containers provide basic isolation and consistent interfaces, and standardize communications so processes run more smoothly.

"We recognize the importance of providing flexibility to our customers as they look to innovate in this mobile-first, cloud-first world," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. "To deliver this flexibility, we are already providing first-class support for Docker and Linux on our rapidly growing cloud platform, Microsoft Azure. Our partnership with Docker further deepens our commitment to help create an open platform powered by choice, bringing together Windows Server and Linux to drive application innovation."

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