Microsoft today released its third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 and Systems Center 2016, bringing with them the first public preview of Windows Server Containers. This release features the culmination of work Microsoft had pledged to do alongside Docker to bring containers to both Azure and Windows Server.
This release also improves upon the Nano Server capabilities announced in April. Nano Server can now be installed on physical hosts or in virtual machines, and it can deployed servers and managed through PowerShell.
(Related: How Docker made containers cool)
Container support comes to both Windows Server and Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform thanks to the company’s collaboration with Docker. The company has joined the Open Container Initiative, and it has even been working with Canonical around its LXD REST API for cross-platform container management.
Microsoft is, of course, offering its own system-management tools for containers as well. This third technical preview of Windows Server and System Center 2016 also includes refinements to its software-defined networking capabilities, and to security controls for isolated virtual machines.
System Center 2016 adds support for rolling updates and for maintenance windows. And, naturally, support has been added for the aforementioned Windows Server Containers.
Those containers can now be deployed to Azure via Visual Studio. Microsoft has released support for Windows Server Containers on Azure, which also links into Visual Studio’s Continuous Integration and Deployment features, providing end-to-end support for building and deploying containers to Azure.