Earlier Docker announced the partnership with Microsoft to bring support to run Azure Container Instances (ACI) from the Docker CLI. Yesterday, Docker announced and released the first Docker Desktop Edge version (2.3.2), which allows you to try out that new feature. Azure Container Instances (ACI) allow you to run Docker containers on-demand in a managed, serverless Azure environment. Azure Container Instances is a solution for any scenario that can operate in isolated containers, without orchestration.

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

To be able to run ACI containers using the Docker CLI, Docker expanded the existing docker context command to support ACI as a new backend. To start using this new feature you will need to run Docker Desktop Edge version 2.3.2 and an Azure subscription. You can create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Now you can start your Docker CLI and login to Azure:

docker login azure

After you are logged in, you will need to create a new ACI context. You can simply use “docker context create aci” command and add your Azure subscription and Resource Group, or the CLI will provide you with an Interactive experience.

docker context create aci myazure

With “docker context ls” you can see the added ACI context.

docker context ls
Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Now you can switch to the newly added ACI context.

docker context use myazure

Now you can start running containers directly on Azure Container Instance using the Docker CLI.

docker run -d -p 80:80 mycontainer

You can also see the running containers using docker ps.

docker ps
Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This will also show you the public IP address of your running container to access it. In my example I used a demo container, however, you can also use your own container which you pushed to a container registry like Docker Hub.

You can also run multi-container applications using Docker Compose. You can find an example for that here.

Try Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This new experience is now available as part of Docker Desktop Edge 2.3.2 . To get started, simply download the latest Edge release or update if you are already on Desktop Edge and create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Conclusion

I hope this gives you a short overview of how you can use the Docker CLI to directly run Docker containers in Azure Container Instances (ACI). If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

There are also many other great examples like running Docker Linux containers on Windows, using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2).