Launching thousands of Docker containers with DCOS on Azure

The Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) entered public beta today. One of the things we’re most proud of is the close work between Mesosphere and Microsoft to ensure DCOS runs smoothly on Microsoft Azure. When you’re going this cutting-edge (and this meta) — a datacenter OS (us) running on a server OS (Linux) running on a cloud (Azure) — everything has to be in working order.

The results speak for themselves.

Live on stage at Microsoft’s Build conference today, Azure CTO Mark Russinovich showed off how easy it is to launch a DCOS cluster on Azure, and then he used a pre-configured 200-node cluster to live launch 2,000 of Docker containers in real time, running Marathon and Spark. Containers at scale, on Azure. Analytics and long-running services on the same cluster.

He used a custom visualizer to show the containers launching, but the speed at which they came online was very real. First he launched them with some easy commands.

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And then — voila! — hundreds were up and running almost immediately. The whole 2,000 were up in seconds.

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Fulfilling the promise of cloud computing

Of course, Mark’s presentation wasn’t just about showing off his demo skills. It was about showing off the kinds of things that are becoming possible thanks to technologies such as the Mesosphere DCOS and Microsoft Azure. It has never been easier to provision hundreds or thousands of virtual machines than it is on cloud computing platforms such as Azure, and it has never been easier to orchestrate the workloads running on them than it is with DCOS.

Docker containers at scale is a great, and incredibly popular, example of the new types of application architectures made possible by the Mesosphere DCOS combined with cloud computing. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also big data, microservices, scale-out databases and more. For example, Apache Mesos, the kernel of DCOS, already underpins all of Twitter and powers Apple’s Siri personal assistant. With DCOS, this same technology becomes available to all companies large and small.

Because the Mesosphere DCOS runs in the cloud and on-premises, you get to choose where you want to have your infrastructure. If you don’t want to own the machines on which all of this is running, install DCOS in the cloud and add or remove machines from the cluster as needed.

Hybrid cloud computing is another reason we’re so happy to partner with Microsoft. It’s a given that enterprise customers want some sort of architecture where parts of their IT infrastructure is located in the cloud and parts are located locally.

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With DCOS, companies can get the same user experience — a simple, powerful command line; an intuitive datacenter dashboard; broad support for popular computing frameworks; and the rock-solid container management capabilities of Mesos — whether they’re running it in their own datacenters or in the cloud. This greatly increases the portability of applications and workload and enables companies to contemplate “bursting” out to the cloud as well as scheduling workloads that span multiple datacenters.

Microsoft is a great partner because its stellar reputation among the world’s largest companies makes it a natural fit for their cloud computing needs. Further, Microsoft shares our vision of a uniform experience in the cloud and in the datacenter, as evidenced by its Windows Azure Pack for delivering a private cloud experience that, for users and developers, mirrors the public cloud experience.

Mesosphere is very pleased that Microsoft is so strongly embracing the future of application infrastructure and architectures, and we are honored to be working with them to bring this future to everyone.