Containers allow you to package applications with their entire runtime environment: code, configuration files, libraries, system tools, settings, and more. These benefits allow you to bring your applications to life faster and reduce stress on your infrastructure, bringing much relief to development teams facing demand to develop faster.
Many enterprises are beginning to transition from using virtual machines to containers to store applications as they embark on their journey to the cloud and need a more lightweight solution for their applications. Here are some benefits of using containers:
Containers are more efficient than virtual machines because they virtualize the operating system instead of hardware. They do not require an operating system per each application, instead sharing the same host operating system. By losing the OS, they take up less space than virtual machines and are typically megabytes in size versus gigabytes. You can store more containers than VMs on a server, and they are simpler to understand and quicker to provision.
Because everything an application needs to be deployed is contained in one package, containers make it easier to switch environments. Containers are portable from one server to another using the same OS. The predictability that containers provide means that a developer can create and test a containerized application in one environment and then move it to the cloud. Essentially, you build once for a specific OS and can then run the container anywhere as long as the environment has the same OS.
While managing hundreds or thousands of containers is no easy feat, there are container orchestration platforms that companies can use to automate container life cycle management, which includes deploying, rebooting and upgrading containers. Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates container operations, eliminating many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications. Kubernetes also allows you to optimize your infrastructure by enabling you to specify container replication policies, and then scale the containers up and down as required. This means each container uses only the resources it needs.
Support for microservices
The container design of putting everything that is needed to run an application in one package goes hand in hand with microservices, another leading DevOps trend that enables faster development. Compared to traditional applications with monolithic architectures, a microservices approach splits your application into multiple services, with each microservice performing a specific function such as product search or shopping cart. By separating the services, developers do not need to deal with the complexities and other dependencies of unrelated functions when making updates or troubleshooting. Each microservice can have its own language and only includes relevant coding.
These are only a few of the benefits that containers have to offer an enterprise. To learn more about how Kubernetes and containers can help you optimize your organization’s development processes, download our Kubernetes Management for Dummies e-book.