Learn about containers, the difference between virtual machines and containers, and new features in the Linux kernel.

What are containers?

The relationship between virtual machines and containers can be confusing. Containers are functionally and conceptually similar to VMs in some ways, but they aren’t virtual machines. They don’t use or need a hypervisor. Containers are processes that use new features, first built into the Linux OS to initiate themselves in isolated process spaces. Linux-based container file systems are based on common Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or CentOS. Windows containers are based on versions of the Windows Server.

The table below highlights the differences between virtual machines and containers.

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