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What is Containerization?

Have you ever heard the term containerization? Possibly not. Using containers in virtual environments is not new because it has been used for several years. However, technological improvements have made containerization popular again thanks to the lightness of its execution compared to a virtual machine. In this guide, we will tell you what containerization is about and what benefits it provides.

What is Containerization?

Containerization is packaging an application with its dependencies, such as libraries and other binaries, into a single unit called a container. Containers (each package) allow for consistent development and deployment environments for applications, and they are isolated from each other and can run on any platform supporting container technology.

Containerization has many benefits, including portability, increased security, and improved resource utilization. Containers are lightweight and can be quickly deployed, and they are also easy to scale up or down as needed. This containerization enables the application to run quickly and reliably from one environment to another without the need to install and configure dependencies separately.

Containerization also makes deploying and scaling applications easy, as all the dependencies are packaged together. Containerization is becoming increasingly popular as a way to package and deploy applications. Many companies are using containers to ship their applications to customers.

containerization

How does it work?

Containerization works by virtualizing all the required pieces of a specific application into a single unit. Under the hood, that means containers include all the binaries, libraries, and configurations an app requires. However, containers do NOT include virtualized hardware or kernel resources.

Instead, containers run “on top” of a container runtime platform that abstracts the resources. Because containers just include the basic components and dependencies of an app without additional bloat, they are faster and more lightweight than alternatives like virtual machines or bare metal servers. They also make it possible to abstract away the problems related to running the same app in different environments. If you can provide the underlying container engine, you can run the containerized application.

What are the benefits of containerization?

Developers use containerization to build and deploy modern applications because of the following advantages.

Portability

Software developers use containerization to deploy applications in multiple environments without rewriting the program code. They build an application once and deploy it on multiple operating systems. For example, they run the same containers on Linux and Windows operating systems. Developers also upgrade legacy application code to modern versions using containers for deployment.

Scalability

Containers are lightweight software components that run efficiently. For example, a virtual machine can launch a containerized application faster because it doesn’t need to boot an operating system. Therefore, software developers can easily add multiple containers for different applications on a single machine. The container cluster uses computing resources from the same shared operating system, but one container doesn’t interfere with the operation of other containers.

Fault tolerance

Software development teams use containers to build fault-tolerant applications. They use multiple containers to run microservices on the cloud. Because containerized microservices operate in isolated user spaces, a single faulty container doesn’t affect the other containers. This increases the resilience and availability of the application.

Agility

Containerized applications run in isolated computing environments. Software developers can troubleshoot and change the application code without interfering with the operating system, hardware, or other application services. They can shorten software release cycles and work on updates quickly with the container model.

What are Containerization use cases?

The following are some use cases of containerization.

Cloud migration

Cloud migration, or the lift-and-shift approach, is a software strategy that involves encapsulating legacy applications in containers and deploying them in a cloud computing environment. Organizations can modernize their applications without rewriting the entire software code.

Adoption of microservice architecture

Organizations seeking to build cloud applications with microservices require containerization technology. The microservice architecture is a software development approach that uses multiple, interdependent software components to deliver a functional application. Each microservice has a unique and specific function. A modern cloud application consists of multiple microservices. For example, a video streaming application might have microservices for data processing, user tracking, billing, and personalization. Containerization provides the software tool to pack microservices as deployable programs on different platforms.

IoT devices

Internet of Things (IoT) devices contain limited computing resources, making manual software updating a complex process. Containerization allows developers to deploy and update applications across IoT devices easily.

containerization

Is Containerization right for you?

The developer-friendliness of modern containerization technologies like Docker makes it an approachable technology to incorporate into a proof-of-concept. If it’s possible to introduce containerization into your software deployment cycle iteratively, such as containerizing a single service or a sidecar service, this may be a good way to gain operational experience with the technology and make a decision.

The choice to leverage containerization may or may not be simple, depending on the size and scale of your current organization. Introducing and adopting any new technology, however developer-friendly, requires an understanding of what benefits and what tradeoffs may be involved, especially where observability and security may be concerned.

That being said, there is a broad and growing community of developer support, and there are early indications that containerization is becoming more of an industry standard. Especially if your software is in the early stages or you’re working with a greenfield, leveraging containerization may be a good option and allow you to take advantage of some of the most modern technological advances in software development and deployment.

Conclusion

Packaging software applications into containers help avail virtualization techniques now evolved as containerization. Highly advanced containerization and orchestration tools such as Docker and Kubernetes help you transform complex monolith architecture into modular components to leverage the benefits of containerization such as speed, improved security, agility, flexibility, easier management, efficiency, fault tolerance, and many others.

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