#MSDYN365BC: Building a Development Environment for Microsoft Dynamics GP ISVs Part 2/3

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined the principles and detailed the reasoning behind why we chose to build our Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central development environment using Windows Docker containers.

In the Dynamics GP world, we are not quite used to containers, so let me start with the definition, straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak). According to the wizards over at Docker, "A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another. A Docker container image is a lightweight, standalone, executable package of software that includes everything needed to run an application: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries and settings".

The first thing to highlight from the definition is, "standard unit of software". In fact, that's key to this whole thing! Standardization ensures that every developer in the organization is building and testing code against the same reliable environment. In the Dynamics GP world, although we have the ability to build stable reliable development environments, consistency is not always something that we can achieve easily, unless we are using desktop virtualization, which intrinsically  poses its own challenges.

But this article is about installing Docker. So let's get to it.

Installing Docker


Windows 10 Anniversary Update (build 1607) saw the introduction of Windows containers, a feature that allows you to install and deploy Docker and other container virtualization technologies. Follow these steps to complete a successful installation of Docker.

NOTE: from now on, most of the work will be done in PowerShell.

Enable Windows Containers feature

1. Open Window PowerShell (not PowerShell ISE) with elevated permissions. Click on Start and type "PowerShell". Choose "Run as Administrator" to continue.



2. You must first enable Hyper-V. In PowerShell type the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All

Enable Hyper-V via PowerShell

NOTE: If you previously installed Hyper-V, you must first uninstall it then reinstall it using the PowerShell. This means you need to backup all your Hyper-V images prior to completing this command.


It is recommended to reboot your machine after this operation to allow all components to be properly registered.

3. Upon rebooting your machine, open PowerShell once more, with elevated permissions, and type the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Containers -All

Enable Windows Containers via PowerShell
NOTE: If you previously installed Windows Containers, you must first uninstall it then reinstall it using the PowerShell. This means you need to backup all your container images prior to completing this command.

It is recommended to reboot your machine after this operation to allow all components to be properly registered.

Download and Install Docker

1. To complete Docker installation, you must first go to https://www.docker.com then choose the Products | Docker Desktop.

Products | Docker Desktop

You must create an account with some basic info, if you don't have one already: user name, password, and email, in order to download Docker. Next, confirm your email address by clicking on a link you will receive in the inbox corresponding to the email associated with the Docker account you created. You now log into Docker Hub and download the Docker Desktop for Windows engine. By default, this would be placed in your download folder, unless your browser has been configured differently.

2. Once you've got through the account validation and download process, proceed to run the Docker installer (installer.exe). Upon launching the installer, the process begins with downloading a number of installation packages.


2. During the configuration screen, you will be prompted to select whether you want to run Windows containers vs Linux containers. The choice here should be obvious, but you have the ability to change this after the fact.


4. Upon clicking OK, the installer begins to unpack all files accordingly.


5. If everything goes as expected, you will be asked to sign out and sign back into Windows.


6. After signing into Windows, the service will initiate and you will be presented with a window to enter your Docker account information. This, according to Docker, is to track application usage.


7. I don't know if this is a bug in the installer, but even after selecting to run Windows containers in step 2, I had to manually right-click on the Docker task bar item and select to switch to Windows containers.


It is always good to test Docker to ensure everything is functioning as expected. For this, we can turn to PowerShell once more and execute any of the 2 following commands:

docker --version
docker info

Docker version and information commands
These steps conclude the installation of Docker. In the next installment, we will deploy the actual Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central containers and prepare you for what's next.

Hope you find this useful.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
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