Windows Containers 101 — Hysolate

Windows Containers

Some time ago, a variant of Docker for Windows called “Docker Toolbox”, actually ran a VirtualBox instance with a Linux OS on top of it, allowing Windows developers to test their containers before deploying on production Linux servers.

Container Isolation Technologies

On Windows, there are two types of containers, distinguished by their isolation level:

  • Process Isolation — resemble the traditional Linux containers in their lightness and kernel sharing with sibling containers and the host. They’re internally based on new kernel objects called Silos, which is the Microsoft variant for Linux namespaces. With Silos, Windows kernel objects such as files, registry, and pipes can be isolated into separate logical units — containers.
  • Hyper-V Isolation — a new way of running containers, which provides much greater flexibility and compatibility between the container and the host’s kernel. In this mode, each container runs inside a highly optimized virtual machine, getting the entire kernel for itself. It’s possible to run both Windows and Linux inside the virtual machine, letting the developer choose the right OS for his needs, to power his containerized application.

Server Containers vs. Client Containers

When we speak about containers, we usually refer to server and data center application containers. But it turns out there are more use cases for this great technology.
On Windows 10, we can find several usages of containers to drive client applications, with user interaction and maybe even (non-console-based) UI.

What’s Next?

It is clear that Microsoft is continuing its ongoing investment in Windows container technologies, and it seems that the technology has matured and expanded into new territories, including not just server-based applications, but client-based applications such as Edge. At Hysolate, we were able to leverage the latest Windows Containers technology to split the desktop into 2 isolated workspaces, running efficiently side-by-side and providing the great manageability and predictability of containers to the interactive user environment, while keeping them isolated with VM-grade isolation for enhanced security.

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Hysolate

Hysolate

Hysolate is a software platform that enables locally deploying and remotely managing virtual, secured, environments on a single endpoint.