Microsoft today announced the availability of the fourth technical preview of Windows Server 2016, a version of Windows for servers. Windows Server comes with Hyper-V virtualization capability, which lets admins run multiple virtual machines on each physical server. But in this new technical preview of the Windows Server 2016, there’s the first public preview of a new technology from Microsoft called Hyper-V Containers.

You might very well have heard about containers by now. In the past two years they’ve become trendy as a technology for packaging up source code. They’re essentially an alternative to virtual machines. At first, people used containers on Linux, but because Microsoft is in the virtualization business, the company woke up to the need to let people run containers in Windows Server. Now people can try it out.

“With Hyper-V Containers, you get the flexibility of the container model with the additional isolation provided by a container-optimized version of Hyper-V,” Mike Neil, corporate vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on the news. “Security needs can vary based on a wide variety of factors, and we’re excited about giving you expanded choices for using containers across enterprise scenarios including multi-tenant environments.”

Meanwhile, Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports Docker containers, as does CoreOS, while Canonical has the LXD container hypervisor for Ubuntu. Citrix announced a preview of Docker container support in XenServer in March. And VMware, the biggest name in virtualization, announced a preview of vSphere Integrated Containers in August.

An earlier technical preview of Windows Server 2016 included support for Windows Server Containers.

You can download Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 here. A new Channel 9 video has more on Hyper-V containers.

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