By: Paul Stanton January 4, 2016

In a few days our first release of WinDocks will go out for evaluation, with a focus on proving the utility of WinDocks for .NET and SQL Server application development (and testing). We’re excited to provide the .NET development community Windows containers with Docker command and API support, as a natural upgrade to Microsoft’s future release of Windows Server 2016.

Windows Containers for Everyone!

A lot of people have asked about the limited time-window of opportunity for Windows Server 2012. After all, Windows Server 2012 is in it’s fourth year, and will quickly be surpassed by Windows Server 2016, right?

Well, not quite. Windows Server 2012 will continue to be the usage-share leader in the Windows Server family for another 3 to 4 years, and will have a substantial share for years beyond that. So, Windows Server 2012 is an important platform for the .NET community, a sizable business opportunity, and an important platform for bringing Windows containers to all who want to explore this new technology.

WinDocks Design

WinDocks is a port of the Docker Daemon to Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. As a port, like Microsoft’s efforts on Windows Server 2016, we’ll support a subset of the Docker commands (some Docker commands are very Linux specific). Our pending release supports Docker Create, Start, Stop, Remove, PS, and Build. Image support includes .NET an SQL Server, which are installed on the Windows Server 2012 host, and support .NET 4.5, SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2, and SQL Server 2012. While we ship a port of the Docker daemon (server), WinDocks interoperates with the standard Docker client.

Fast, Scalable, and Secure

One of the challenges in delivering WinDocks is the lack of native Windows containers on Windows Server 2012, which we’ve blogged about here. WinDocks implements a number of container processes in user-space, and won’t deliver the speed of container creation offered by Linux hosts. Nonetheless, performance is turning out to be a strong point according to early feedback:

• .NET containers are created in ~5 seconds, and a new SQL Server instance is completed in 8 seconds!
• WinDocks delivers scalablity, with dozens of SQL containers running concurrently in 10 GB of available RAM
• WinDocks provides namespace isolation. A single host supports separate identically named SQL databases without conflict.

New Years Resolutions

We have an experience team, having been part of Microsoft’s Windows and SQL Server development. We feel good about the performance and stability of WinDocks, and expect to ship a Production Release early in the New Year. We will expand on the current features with improved support of Docker images, with the Commit command, and Registry support. Support for Visual Studio is a must, as well as proving use on Azure, AWS, and other Public clouds.

Send us an email and tell us about your use-case at

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