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How can IT put Windows 10 containers to use?

Using Docker containers in Windows 10, IT can isolate apps and processes from users' devices, which can help in several ways, including preventing conflicts with other apps.

IT can use Windows 10 containers to provide an isolated, portable runtime deployment for both applications and processes.

Containers include all the components and configuration files necessary to support applications or processes. For each container, the host provisions a set of resources, which are the only resources the container can access. From the container's perspective, no other resources exist.

Starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, IT can run Docker containers on 64-bit Professional or Enterprise editions of Windows 10 without having to deploy Docker Toolbox. Docker is an open source software platform IT can use to create and manage containers.

IT must still install Docker for Windows -- the free Community edition or the Enterprise edition -- on any computers it plans to deliver the containers to. Fortunately, the installation and configuration processes are fairly straightforward.

How to use Windows 10 containers with Docker

To use Windows 10 containers with Docker, IT must enable Microsoft Hyper-V on the endpoints it plans to deliver the container to. Microsoft supports two types of Windows containers: Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Isolation Containers.

A Windows Server Container runs directly on the host and shares the host's kernel. Only Windows Server can host Windows Server containers.

A Hyper-V Isolation Container runs in a highly optimized virtual machine, making it more secure than a Windows Server Container. Both Windows Server and Windows 10 can host Hyper-V Containers, which is why IT must enable Hyper-V on Windows 10 machines.

Docker containers are well-suited for Agile application delivery scenarios, especially for applications based on a microservice architecture where the services within an app run separately from one another.

IT can easily create and deploy Windows 10 containers on developer desktops and testing machines and then implement them in production deployments. In this way, IT can provide developers, testers and administrators with standardized deployments that can run across all systems without having to worry about complex installations and configurations or about conflicts with other applications or services on the host system.

IT professionals can base Windows 10 containers on either Linux or Windows Server. They create each container from an image that provides the underlying operating system platform, along with one or more optional applications or processes. For example, Microsoft offers the mssql-server-linux image in its public repository. The image is based on the Linux operating system and includes an instance of SQL Server.

IT professionals can base Windows 10 containers on either Linux or Windows Server.

Developers building applications that rely on SQL Server on Linux can create containers based on the mssql-server-linux image without having to deal with time-consuming setup processes. They only need to pull the image from the repository and generate the necessary container, which takes a couple steps. If they must persist data when using a container, they can use Docker volumes -- where Docker creates a new file or directory that lives on the host machine -- or bind mounts -- where a file or directory attaches to a container.

Windows 10 and Docker for Windows also support Kubernetes, an open source orchestration platform for deploying, scaling and managing containerized applications across host clusters. An orchestration tool is essential for any organization that uses containers extensively.

This was last published in October 2018

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