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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Microsoft Windows Container Concept

With the increase of necessity of so much high end Servers for our deployments, a decade before we found a solution called VIRTULIZATION. Simply it allows admins to run a server on top of another server. With the high usage while having high productivity that concept has aroused so much and today, we all get the experience of Virtualization. While evolving the concept we had to face many challenges especially on hardware limitations, software cost and shortage of expert technical skills.
The architecture of virtualization is totally based on hardware sharing and never incorporated software sharing. In other words, we were unable to use HOST’s software inside a Virtual machine. Also we were unable to share OS files / kernel information with VM.

Traditional Virtualization

To overcome mentioned limitations, Microsoft tried to implement a virtualization concept that goes beyond hardware. The original concept initiated few years back, and Microsoft merged their concept with company named DOCKER and implemented Container Service. It is a features that comes with Windows Server 2016 and already implemented on Microsoft AZURE.
Azure Container Service aka ACS is introduced to create, configure and manage cluster of virtual machines in a configured environment using optimized performances. The container is the application piece which works as a virtual machine.

Containerization (aka OS Virtualization)

** Container runs an operating system, has a file system and can be accessed over a network.
With new concept, the HOST can handle many containers same as virtual machines. But the containers can share resources, OS files with the HOST as the diagram explained. With the sharing capability of Container based virtualization the container can run as LIGHT weight machine which enable efficiency. It will reduce loading time and will increase operation time.

Important Facts

1)      Releasing with Windows server 2016
2)      First we need to create a “CONTAINER HOST” (Windows HOST or a LINUX HOST) before start virtualization
3)      We can create 2 types of Containers
a.      Windows Server Containers (shares a kernel with the container host and all containers running on the host)
b.      Hyper-V Containers (container in a highly optimized virtual machine, valid only on-premise)
4)      Windows Server Container Efficiency is greater than Hyper-V Container, because of OS level virtualization
5)      Windows Server Container Security is lesser than Hyper-V Container, because of resource sharing

1)      Image is a Snapshot of a Container which includes the current status of running virtualized environment.
2)      Sandbox is the storage use to write changes in each container and can be committed to Image if wanted
1)      Container OS Image provides the operating system environment for Container, but this is Immutable.
2)      Container Repository to Keep local data including container specific installed software changes, file level changes and other OS level changes.
3)      Microservices architecture will be integrated with ACS,
a.      Container can have many micro-services (can call as SUB-SYSTEMS)
b.      Efficient and manageable resource allocation
4)      We can enable the feature using command of
 Install-WindowsFeature containers

WOW things

1)      “Docker image” can be created and it can be deployed to all environments (IDENTICAL environment of UAT, PRODUCTION)
2)      “Container Orchestration” is capable of handling,
a.      Tracking / managing containers
b.      Can CLUSTER containers for easy access
c.       Scheduling of maintenance tasks
d.      Constraint based deployments
3)      Docker template is available with visual studio 2015, we can create APPs directly to ACS
4)      Azure Container Service (ACS) is now available with on MARKETPLACE, we can create CONTAINERS on Azure
5)      REST API support to connect with third party tools
Portability among different platforms and environments 


1)      With the use of ACS, the OS will be virtualized. Hence the amount of resources will be less and it will be a Financial benefit
2)      All the containers can use single base image and it will make all the environments are identical
3)      Easy to upgrade sever kernel as one unit
4)      Direct integration of Visual Studio with Azure

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