Windows Server container users: Mirantis is here to support you


As of September 2022, Microsoft will no longer provide access and support for Mirantis Container Runtime (formerly Docker Engine - Enterprise). In coordination with Microsoft, access and support for the product will transition fully to Mirantis. If you’re currently using Windows Server containers, rest assured that they will continue to function the same as before. The main difference is that support, feature, and stability enhancements along with security patches will be provided directly by Mirantis as opposed to being provided from Mirantis through Microsoft. Mirantis is also providing special offers valid until 12/31/2023 to Microsoft customers using Windows containers.

The change does not impact developers, but will include some changes for Windows Server container operators who use Mirantis/Docker runtime on servers. We’ll explore this more in depth in the blog below.

In the meantime, Mirantis will continue to collaborate with Microsoft and the broader container community on features, functionality, stability and security issues which may impact Windows Server containers.

What does this change mean for me?

For container developers, the impact of the update depends on your needs.

If you do nothing, then your containers will continue to run smoothly through the Moby project, on which Mirantis Container Runtime (and Docker Engine - Enterprise) are based. If you are not using your containers in production, this will likely be adequate for your needs, and you don't have to do anything further; the default Moby engine should work for you.

However, there are several situations in which you will need to consider further actions:

  • You're using Docker Swarm
  • You're using security features such as FIPS 140-2
  • You're running in production

If any of these are true for you, you're going to want Mirantis Container Runtime.

How do I maintain access to enterprise container features?

There are three options for existing Windows Server container users: Mirantis Container Runtime, containerd, or Moby. Developers (and members of management) need to choose carefully; not all container runtimes are the same, and there are stark differences between Mirantis Container Runtime, Moby and community-based containerd. Organizations using Windows Server containers should weigh their options carefully, as they may risk losing security and compliance features that may be vital or even mandatory for their deployment. 

Namely, while containerd and Moby provide high-level container runtimes with basic functionality, Mirantis Container Runtime offers advanced enterprise features, including FIPS 140-2 security alignment. Government agencies and regulated industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications and others where FIPS 140-2 compliance and secure software supply chains are mandated or prioritized need to take action by installing Mirantis Container Runtime. This also applies to companies that require commercial or 24x7x365 support for production deployments.

So if you’re going to make the effort of installing a container runtime, it would benefit you to choose Mirantis Container Runtime as the more feature-rich option with greater security.

What about Docker Swarm and Docker CLI?

Enterprises running Docker Swarm will have special interest in Mirantis Container Runtime, as Mirantis is the only vendor providing direct support for Swarm orchestration (now built into the Mirantis Kubernetes Engine platform), and we continue to expand Swarm with valuable features and functionality. 

Mirantis Container Runtime will also be of particular interest to organizations using Kubernetes orchestration with the familiar Docker CLI for container management with a fully supported CRI compliant container runtime.

The build process for Windows Server containers using Docker will not be impacted, and customers can still use the Docker Desktop CLI as usual to work with container images.

How can users get continued support for Docker containers on Windows Server?

At the end of September 2022, Windows Server container customers can still use Mirantis Container Runtime, but to access support, bug fixes and security patches, they will need to get support directly from Mirantis.

To ease the transition, Mirantis is extending special offers valid until 12/31/2023 to Microsoft customers using Windows containers.

Beta Pricing subject to change

  • For 1-9 nodes: Basic subscription for MCR-Windows (no support) valid until 12/31/2023. FREE. Request online.
  • For 20-50 nodes: Basic subscription for MCR-Windows (no support), valid 1 year. $900/node. Buy now.
  • To purchase support, or a Basic subscription for more than 50 nodes, please contact us to request pricing.
  • Mirantis offers a range of enterprise-grade SLAs, including LabCare 8x5 support for non-production, and OpsCare 24x7x365 proactive support and OpsCare Plus fully managed services for production deployments.

    From a technical standpoint, Microsoft will not further maintain the MicrosoftDockerProvider repository, which provides a Docker installer for Windows. Instead, customers should follow these instructions to install Mirantis Container Runtime for Windows Servers.

    We want to make this transition as easy as possible, so if you have any further questions, please contact us