Linux Containers on Windows?!

Microsoft’s professed love of open source and Linux specifically is really starting to show in a real way with the upcoming new compatibility of Linux containers on Windows. First, code development for Linux was released open source, then there was a networking device for Azure released, then SQL for Linux, and now this!

Some Background

Gone are the Ballmer days of viewing Linux as the enemy — now we have a company openly embracing a former enemy as a tool to get work done. We see this in many ways, one of which was the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that was released on Windows 10, which was commonly called Bash on Windows (because it let you use Bash on Windows). This was a huge step, as it made the transition from Linux to Windows (and back) very easy. That functionality is now going to come to Windows Server, meaning the Linux CLI functionality of Creators Update is now going to simplify scripting and other management.

Hyper-V and Linux Containers

This all leads to the title of this blog: Hyper-V container isolation is now going to work with Linux containers. That means rather than having to deploy a Linux container environment and a Windows container environment, native Linux containers will now be able to run on Windows. This is HUGE from a cross-compatibility and management standpoint, and allows Microsoft to be able to do something you can’t do in Linux: be the sole platform for all of your container needs. From a strategic standpoint, this is also ingenious, as Linux containers have a huge head start on Windows containers. Now rather than have a couple of years of latency before their containers are heavily adopted, Microsoft can suddenly open up a huge portfolio of existing containers to their customers.

The Catch

The one thing to note about this release is that it is going to be Hyper-V containers that are supported. You won’t be able to run a hundred Linux host-based containers directly on top of Windows, but you’ll be able to run hundreds of small isolated containers of Linux side by side with Windows containers. For a description of the differences between these two, check out our blog.

Microsoft is backing up their months of talk with legitimate products and are starting to allow admins to use any tool they want, no matter the source.

If you have questions about deploying containers within Windows Server 2016, send us an email or give us a call at 502-240-0404!