In a blog post, Microsoft announced two new technologies related to containers in the form of Hyper-V containers and the Nano Server on April 8. Hyper-V containers represent an extension of Microsoft’s plans to support Docker containers on multiple operating systems and hypervisors. In October, Microsoft and Docker announced plans to bring the Docker engine to the Windows Server platform, roughly four months after Micosoft announced support for Docker on Linux VMs within the Microsoft Azure platform in June. Hyper-V containers provide an enhanced degree of security for containers by delivering a level of isolation characteristic of dedicated servers or VMs. The enhanced level of isolation specific to Hyper-V containers ensures that code within a container remains separate from the other containers and host operating system of the underlying infrastructure. Designed for the Hyper-V hypervisor, Hyper-V containers complement Windows Server Containers and can be deployed using the same development tools as those used for Windows Server Containers. Moreover, Hyper-V containers are inter-operable with Windows Server Containers to the extent that applications designed for Windows Server Containers can be deployed as Hyper-V containers without additional configuration or tweaks.
Meanwhile, Nano Servers represent a micro-installation of Windows Server that is optimized for the cloud and container technology. Nano Servers feature smaller server images, memory and networking infrastructures that render it an optimal infrastructure for container technology. Taken together, Microsoft’s announcement of Hyper-V containers and Nano Servers constitutes yet another illustration of Microsoft’s attempt to differentiate itself from other IaaS vendors by rolling out products that support and amplify the operational agility enabled by Docker technologies. Hyper-V containers, for example, promise to deliver enhanced levels of security for Docker containers and give users a container option for the Hyper-V hypervisor in addition to Windows Server Containers and Linux containers. The bottom line, here, is that Microsoft is responding to increased customer demand for Docker container technology by way of an expanding and increasingly nuanced catalogue of options for deploying containers on different operating systems and virtualization platforms.