​Linux containers slide into the Windows Server beta

Microsoft and Linux continue to cuddle closer on the cloud and servers.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Every day in every way, Microsoft and Linux are getting closer. Maybe MS-Linux isn't a joke after all? While Julia Liuson, Microsoft's corporate VP of developer tools and services, was singing Linux and open source's praises at a keynote speech at The Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles, the Windows Server's developers were putting the last touches on Linux containers in the next release of Windows Server 2016.

Patrick Lang, Windows Server's senior program manager, blogged that in the just released Windows Server, version 1709, Windows Insiders will be able to run Linux containers. Ordinary users will be able to do this starting in early October when the next official release comes out, according to a Microsoft source.

This comes on the heels of Windows Server 2016 beta users being given the power to run Linux distributions with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It's getting hard to tell the Windows programmers from the Linux developers!

Lang wrote, "We knew developers were eager to run any container, Windows or Linux, on the same machine. The crowd went wild when we announced this at Dockercon earlier this year and it showed how much demand there was for this work. This feature uses Hyper-V isolation to run a Linux kernel with just enough OS to support containers. Since then, we've been hard at work building this technology with new functionality in Hyper-V, joint work with the Linux community, and contributions to the open-source Moby project on which Docker technology is built. Now it's time to share a sneak peek of how to run Linux containers and start getting feedback on how it's working for Windows Insiders."

Why are users, especially programmers, so eager to do this? Lang explained, "Since the launch of Windows Server 2016, container adoption has skyrocketed, with many customers using a "lift and shift" approach to migrate existing applications and start the journey to modernize their deployments. Hyper-V can also provide unprecedented isolation between containers, and you can leverage your existing Active Directory infrastructure for apps in containers with Group Managed Service Account support."

To try it out yourself you'll need:

  • Windows 10 or Windows Server Insider Preview build 16267 or later
  • A Docker daemon build based off the Moby master branch
  • Your choice of compatible Linux image

For fuller instructions see Docker's Preview Linux Containers on Windows using LinuxKit and Canonical's Running Ubuntu Containers with Hyper-V Isolation on Windows 10 and Windows Server. Enjoy!

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