Containers in Windows Server 2016: What you need to know

Microsoft has not done a great job of documenting its container options. Here's what you need to think about as you start

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In a story I wrote for Computerworld in January, which was a review of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4, I mentioned Windows Server's new support for Hyper-V containers that had been added to its support for Docker-style containers (present within the beta product since the previous beta milestone release).

However, the presence of two container options has led to a lot of questions. What is the difference between a Docker container and a new Hyper-V container? In which scenarios would you want to use one container solution over the other? Are there separate methods of deploying each of these?

shipping containers Flickr/Steve Gibson

Microsoft has not done a great job of documenting these two container options, and containers themselves are new to the Windows Server platform. Given those two factors, I want to dedicate a whole story to what specific container solutions Windows Server 2016 either provides now in preview form in the available releases, or promises to provide prior to the software's release to manufacturing (RTM) date, most probably in the second half of 2016.

For now, however, your best bet is to read about the different options and hold off on implementing if you can. This is still very early going in the Windows Server containers process and there are still a lot of details to be worked out.

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