Microsoft Hyper-V Enables Linux Containers to Run on Windows Server

Microsoft enlists its Hyper-V isolation technology to run both Linux and Windows containers natively on Windows Server

cloud container box

Window Server will soon natively run Linux containers using the company's Hyper-V container isolation technology, Microsoft announced during Dockercon 2017 conference. The project to enable the new capability was officially launched at the event, currently taking place in Austin, Texas.

It seems Satya Nadella wasn't kidding when he claimed that "Microsoft loves Linux" in October 2014. Back then, he was speaking of his company's commitment to supporting the open-source operating system on the Azure cloud computing platform. The support for Linux containers on Windows Server demonstrates that commitment.

Although Windows Server 2016 features Docker support, currently developers must specifically target Windows. Microsoft is adapting the hardware-based resource isolation functionality found in Hyper-V Containers to provide native support for Linux and Windows containers in the Windows Server environment.

"This will give the same isolation and management experience for Windows Server Containers and Linux containers on the same host, side by side," wrote John Gossman, Azure lead architect at Microsoft and a Linux Foundation board member, in an April 18 blog post.

Gossman suggested that bringing Linux and Windows containers under the same roof, so to speak, can help simplify IT infrastructures for organizations that run both types of containers and streamline their development tooling. Ultimately it will allow Windows developers and IT administrators running Windows Server hardware "to run any container image regardless of their platform," he added.

The initiative has already garnered the support of several Linux providers, including Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical and Intel, the latter of which is working to include its Clear Linux OS to the list of compatible options.

"Microsoft's new Hyper-V Linux containers, announced today at DockerCon, and its collaboration with Docker's LinuxKit and containerd together represent a unique, innovative solution for developers building heterogeneous, hybrid cloud applications," said Scott Johnston, COO of Docker, Inc., in a statement.

Microsoft this week also released an overlay networking driver for Windows Sever 2016. The driver allows organizations to create a Docker swarm with multiple Linux Docker and Windows Server hosts without having to configure the underlying network fabric separately.

Microsoft also had some input on the new professional services offering from Docker aimed at helping organizations move their legacy business applications to a microservices infrastructure. Avanade, Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise also lent their expertise to the effort.

Meanwhile, another software giant has jumped on the Docker application container bandwagon.

Oracle announced on day two of Dockercon that it was publishing select applications to the enterprise-focused Docker Store. Unlike the Docker Hub, a free online application container repository, the Docker Store is a marketplace offering certified container applications for businesses.

Oracle plans to bring its flagship relational database, Java Development Kit and WebLogic Servers to the Docker Store. "We think this is a milestone not only for Oracle and Docker but also for how the industry deploys software," said Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, during a keynote address.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...