Windows Server 2016’s latest beta brings first look at Microsoft’s new containers

November 20, 2015

Microsoft launched the fourth technical preview for the next version of Windows Server on Thursday, giving the public access to its new Hyper-V Container feature.

It’s a powerful tool that gives developers access to the flexibility and utility that comes with containerization while also providing isolation that is typically found in traditional virtual machines. One of the key tenets of that isolation is that the Hyper-V Container has its own Windows Server kernel that isn’t shared with the host machine, unlike the Windows Server containers that Microsoft also made available in the beta versions of its upcoming server software release.

Isolation like that is similar to what was already available with traditional virtual machines, but Hyper-V containers can also be set up using Docker tools and can use the same packages that run inside Windows Server Containers. The operating system running inside the container is also optimized for use inside a container rather than a physical machine, which affords some performance improvements over a virtual machine.

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