Q&A on Microsoft Virtualization, Part 6

Ben Armstrong discusses containers in this final installment.

More on this:

Contributing Editor Paul Schnackenburg concludes his interview with Ben Armstrong, Microsoft's program lead for Hyper-V.

Paul Schnackenburg: Is containers in general something that an IT pro needs to get up to speed on today, or is it mostly a developer thing?

Ben Armstrong: Let's look at what's happened with virtual machines, let's take a lesson from history. So I personally have been working on virtual machines since 1997, and we've been working on virtual machines for servers since 2001. And if you imagine 2003, if you'd found an IT manager who [said] we're going to virtualize everything, that person should have been fired!  He should have. Technology wasn't ready, they were taking unnecessary risks with their company.

Fast forward to 2008 through 2010, the kind of golden age of server virtualization. The people who were aware and interested were in there making huge savings for their company; they were the hero of the company. Then you get to today, 2015 -- if you find an IT manager who isn't virtualizing everything, that guy should be fired!  He's not doing his job. He's not getting the most value out of his hardware and so on. He's not delivering value for his company.

And technology tends to follow these waves. [For] containers, it's "Preview 1" right now; we're in the alpha/beta stage. So our focus is very much on the developer audience and on getting the tooling and infrastructure up. I'm thrilled whenever we have IT folks playing with it and giving us feedback because, as I've mentioned, we're dying to find out if we are building the right thing for people.

And while I'm sure we're going to see some people deploying these, I'm not expecting mass adoption of them until we've had a couple of times to iterate and figure out what this actually looks like, get the ecosystem built up. So my advice to IT pros would be: be in learning mode, try it out. It's really easy to try out. We've got setup scripts and so on, so you can get up and running with containers and just start learning about the technology so that in the future you're ready to hit the ground running.

For developers that's my big message: if you're doing any development[-related] on the server, you have to be thinking about containers and you have to be thinking about how you can use those containers to enable new scenarios.

About the Author

Paul Schnackenburg has been working in IT for nearly 30 years and has been teaching for over 20 years. He runs Expert IT Solutions, an IT consultancy in Australia. Paul focuses on cloud technologies such as Azure and Microsoft 365 and how to secure IT, whether in the cloud or on-premises. He's a frequent speaker at conferences and writes for several sites, including Find him at @paulschnack on Twitter or on his blog at


Subscribe on YouTube