23 July 2021

The Benefits of Software Containerization

Sunil Yadav, Lead Cloud Engineer
Technology / Innovation

“A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies, so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another” (by docker).

Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get an application and software to run reliably from one environment to another.

Comparing Containers and Virtual Machines

Software containers and virtual machines have similar type of resource isolation and allocation benefits, but they function differently because containers virtualize the host operating system instead of hardware. 

Containers share the machine’s OS system kernel and therefore do not require an OS per application and reducing server and licensing costs. They are typically megabytes in size, use far fewer resources than VMs (gigabytes in size), and started almost instantly.

 

Problem Containerization Solves

In Monolithic application, problems arise when the supporting software environment is not identical, like you tested your application on .Net Framework 4.5 on your local or development environment and then it is going to run on .Net Framework 4.0 in production and something weird will happen. Also, you might be relying on the behavior of a certain version of assemblies and a different version will be installed and all sorts of weird things happen.

There might be chance your network topology can be different across the environments, or the security policies and storage might be different, but the software must run on it.

Like, we mentioned earlier software containers consists of a package which includes all its dependencies, libraries and other binaries, and configuration files needed to run it. Containers instantiated in a "just in time" fashion when they are needed and can remove when they are no longer required, freeing up resources on their hosts.

What Commercial Container Management Solutions Exist?

In this era, Docker Enterprise Edition is the best commercial container management solution. It provides an integrated, tested, and secure platform for apps running on enterprise Linux or Windows operating systems and cloud providers. There are many other solutions as well like Open Shift, Rancher and so on. Docker is a tool designed to make it easier to create, deploy, and run applications by using containers.

Are Containers Secure?

There has been a lot of effort over the last couple of years to improve the security of containers. Today, Docker includes a signing infrastructure to sign container images to prevent untrusted containers from being deployed. Docker also offers container security scanning solutions that can notify if any container images have vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Why You Should Use Containers: How Containerization Helps Development Teams

Containerization Works on Your Local Machine

One of the complicated problems in development is having to deal with environment inconsistency across multiple machines and different platforms. Docker allows you to run containers on your local box and eliminate inconsistency between your development and live environments. There is no need to install software packages or dependencies/libraries on your local environments. Everything you need for your development environment can simply run in Docker as containers. You can easily containerize environments locally in any language.

Easily Onboard New Developers to Projects

There has always been a challenge to onboard a new developer and getting them up to speed quickly. Using Containerization approach, you can significantly reduce local development environment setup times and quickly onboard your developers so they can be productive right away. You can use the Docker Desktop along with Docker Compose to run multi-container Docker applications. With Docker Compose, you can define your services/containers in a YAML file and run all the services/containers with a single command. Docker grows your development capacity by accelerating how you build, share, and run applications.

Faster App Deployments and Updates Using Micro-services Architecture

Organizations are switching from large monolithic applications to microservices architecture to avoid full release deployment of an application built as a single deployable unit.  Monolithic applications are challenging to maintain and update because software packages/dependencies/libraries for each component are tightly coupled. A microservices architecture platform like Docker allows you to containerize your application and simplify the delivery and management of those microservices. Containerization making application independently deployable, scalable, tested and hence, enables faster app deployments and updates. 

Docker Desktop and Docker Hub (Image Registry) lets you standardize and automate the way you build, share, and run microservices-based applications across the organization in different languages and frameworks. By having independent services and clear boundaries between services, you can more easily design for failure.

Move Your Legacy Apps to Containers

Containerization has become a major trend in software development to ship and run applications by encapsulating or packaging up software code and all its dependencies so that it can run uniformly and consistently on any infrastructure. Now, organizations started taking a "lift and shift" approach to moving their existing apps into containers. Using Docker to containerize your legacy apps can result in measurable benefits for developers and operations teams as well as overall software infrastructure. Development and tests are more efficient, deployment and disaster recovery is simplified, and you can run multiple instances of the app without conflicting with other apps.

Key Containerization Benefits

Grow your development capacity by accelerating how you build, share, and run applications:

  • Any App, Any Language
  • Developer Speed
  • One Development and Delivery Platform
  • Consistency between development and production.
  • Portability and Faster Scaling
  • Enable isolation and throttling

Rightpoint can help organizations leverage Containerization and Microservices approach using AKS, EKS and native Kubernetes to build, ship and run applications on public cloud Azure, AWS while ensuring the overall architecture sufficiently incorporates security, availability, and recoverability requirements to ensure long term success. Contact us today to see how Rightpoint can aid in modern cloud deployment techniques that can help organizations transform how IT services are delivered within their businesses.