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How’s this for a Microsoft cross-platform trick? At the recent DockerCon conference, Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich demonstrated the ability to run a hybrid Linux/Windows application using Visual Studio tooling on a Mac, ultimately deploying the app to Microsoft Azure, into Linux and Windows virtual machines.

Mark Russinovich
Mark Russinovich

That’s an example of what can be accomplished with Microsoft’s latest developer tools and container technology, which bundles up an app and the components needed to run it in an easy-to-deploy package. Containers were born on Linux, and Microsoft has been working with container technology platform Docker to bring containers to Windows.

Today, as part of its Docker partnership, Microsoft is releasing the first public preview of Windows Server Containers. In addition, the company says developers will be able to use the Docker toolchain on Windows, creating consistency across Linux and Windows environments.

This would have been an almost unbelievable scenario even five years ago, given Microsoft’s traditional approach, treating Linux and open-source technologies as a threat to Windows. The company’s new stance on open-source technology has accelerated under CEO Satya Nadella.

“It’s a very different Microsoft now than it was five years ago,” Russinovich said in an interview with GeekWire this week. “The world has changed a lot. This collaboration with the open-source community … is meeting customers where they are, and giving them the choice to use the technologies they want to use, when they want to use them.”

The preview of the new Windows Server Container technology is part of the third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, which will come out sometime next year.

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