Docker update helps push Windows Server legacy migration

The latest update helps companies migrate legacy apps, adds security features and improves dashboards.
14 November 2018

Windows Server-based legacy apps are now easier to upgrade. Source: Shutterstock

Docker Enterprise 2.1, released Nov 8, makes it easier to migrate legacy Windows Server 2008- and 2003-based applications as the free support deadline for the former platform approaches Jan 2020.

Companies which do not migrate legacy applications and systems, will, therefore, be more vulnerable and experience higher maintenance costs, according to the company.

The Docker Windows Server Application Migration Program is designed to enable an easy migration of those apps reaching the end of their support periods, at least as far as the OS on which they run.

“Because we have been working with customers on Windows Server containers from the beginning, Docker has a proven model for migrating and modernizing legacy Windows Server applications quickly and cost-effectively to any infrastructure, on-premises or in the cloud,” said Scott Johnston, Chief Product Officer for Docker.

“Windows Server customers come to us for help designing a container strategy for their legacy applications that will help mitigate end of support issues. Through this program many customers experience a 50 percent reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of applications using Docker Enterprise, freeing up budget for strategic IT initiatives such as cloud migration or edge computing.”

New migration tools help users still reliant on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Across the enterprise, a number of applications still run on those platforms, despite Microsoft ceasing free support for Windows Server 2003, back in July 2015.

Microsoft drops support for its older platforms not to impinge on containerized apps specifically, but rather because it cannot hope to support every OS iteration indefinitely. Its finite support periods are also at least partly stipulated to encourage its enterprise customers to move their workloads onto cloud products such as Azure.

The latest version of Docker Enterprise adds support for Windows Server builds 1709 and 1803, and opens the way for Windows Server 2019— pending Microsoft’s release of that platform next year— already on test in Microsoft’s early-adopter programs.

Additionally, the Docker update brings support for smaller image sizes, in line with the latest releases of Windows Server. This means improved performance when moving base images and building applications, according to Docker.

The improved compatibility means that container images can be deployed using different Windows Server versions, so enterprises can run applications more easily on shared OSes.

Windows Server build 1709, which is supported by Docker Enterprise 2.1, expanded support for Docker’s own Swarm routing technologies, and Docker 2.1 adds VIP-based service discovery when using overlay networks.

There are also enhancements to status dashboards which display information on node and container performance and allow massive-scale image management.

The update introduces a host of security enhancements too, including SAML 2.0 authentication to enable SSO (single sign-on) if required, greater granularity in audit logs, and Kubernetes IPSec network encryption.

“This is really critical in highly-regulated environments, including financial services, which typically require this level of validation,” said Banjot Chanana, Vice President of Product at Docker in comments to eWEEK.