Guest post by Mike Neil, General Manager for Windows Server, Microsoft
In today’s cloud-first world, businesses increasingly rely on applications to fuel innovation and productivity. As the cloud evolves, containers are emerging as an attractive way for developers to quickly and efficiently build and deploy these applications at the speed of business. Offering developers and IT professionals the ability to deploy applications from a workstation to a server in mere seconds, containers are taking application development to a whole new level.
As developers look to expand the benefits of containers to a broader set of applications, new requirements are emerging. For example, heightened levels of trust may be required for enterprise systems or in hosted environments. Furthermore, developers often deploy into mixed operational environments where they may not have control of the platform where the application is deployed. Virtualization has historically provided a valuable level of isolation that enables these scenarios but there is now opportunity to blend the efficiency and density of the container model with the right level of isolation.
Last October, Microsoft and Docker, Inc. jointly announced plans to bring containers to developers across the Docker and Windows ecosystems via Windows Server Containers, available in the next version of Windows Server. We will be unveiling the first live demonstration in a few weeks, starting at the BUILD conference. Today, we are taking containerization one step further by expanding the scenarios and workloads developers can address with containers:
• Hyper-V Containers, a new container deployment option with enhanced isolation powered by Hyper-V virtualization
• Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation of Windows Server that is highly optimized for the cloud, and ideal for containers.
First-of-Their-Kind Hyper-V Containers
Leveraging our deep virtualization experience, Microsoft will now offer containers with a new level of isolation previously reserved only for fully dedicated physical or virtual machines, while maintaining an agile and efficient experience with full Docker cross-platform integration. Through this new first-of-its-kind offering, Hyper-V Containers will ensure code running in one container remains isolated and cannot impact the host operating system or other containers running on the same host.
While Hyper-V containers offer an additional deployment option between Windows Server Containers and the Hyper-V virtual machine, you will be able to deploy them using the same development, programming and management tools you would use for Windows Server Containers. In addition, applications developed for Windows Server Containers can be deployed as a Hyper-V Container without modification, providing greater flexibility for operators who need to choose degrees of density, agility, and isolation in a multi-platform, multi-application environment.
Our Containers in the Docker Ecosystem
Docker plays an important part in enabling the container ecosystem across Linux, Windows Server and the forthcoming Hyper-V Containers. We have been working closely with the Docker community to leverage and extend container innovations in Windows Server and Microsoft Azure, including submitting the development of the Docker engine for Windows Server Containers as an open contribution to the Docker repository on GitHub. In addition, we’ve made it easier to deploy the latest Docker engine using Azure extensions to setup a Docker host on Azure Linux VMs and to deploy a Docker-managed VM directly from the Azure Marketplace. Finally, we’ve added integration for Swarm, Machine and Compose into Azure and Hyper-V.
“Microsoft has been a great partner and contributor to the Docker project since our joint announcement in October of 2014,” said Nick Stinemates, Head of Business Development and Technical Alliances. “They have made a number of enhancements to improve the developer experience for Docker on Azure, while making contributions to all aspects of the Docker platform including Docker orchestration tools and Docker Client on Windows. Microsoft has also demonstrated its leadership within the community by providing compelling new content like dockerized .NET for Linux. At the same time, they’ve been working to extend the benefits of Docker containers- application portability to any infrastructure and an accelerated development process–to its Windows developer community.”
Introducing Nano Server: The Nucleus of Modern Apps and Cloud
The operating system has evolved dramatically with the move to the cloud. Many customers today need their OS for the primary purpose of powering born-in-the-cloud applications. Leveraging our years of experience building and running hyper-scale datacenters, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to provide a purpose-built OS to power modern apps and containers.
The result is Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation option of Windows Server that is highly optimized for the cloud, including containers. Nano Server provides just the components you need – nothing else, meaning smaller server images, which reduces deployment times, decreases network bandwidth consumption, and improves uptime and security. This small footprint makes Nano Server an ideal complement for Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers, as well as other cloud-optimized scenarios. A preview will be available in the coming weeks, and you can read more about the technology on the Windows Server blog.
Containers are bringing speed and scale to the next level in today’s cloud-first world. Microsoft is uniquely positioned to propel more organizations forward into the next era of containerization, by offering flexibility and choice through Windows Server containers, Linux containers, and Hyper-V containers both in the cloud and on-premises. Today’s announcements are just the beginning of what’s to come, as we continue to fuel both the growth of containers in the industry, and new levels of application innovation for all developers.
Stay tuned for more details on these new innovations, beginning at our BUILD conference in a few weeks.