Updated August 2, 2023

A container is a unit of software that packages code and its dependencies, so the application runs quickly and reliably across computing environments. The use of containers can virtualize operating systems to run anywhere, from on-premises to cloud, or even personal laptops. Inside a container are all the necessary executables, binary code, libraries, and configuration files.


Using containers to address challenges around the deployment of application code

Development teams are under a significant amount of pressure to become more agile and deliver new features to the lines of business more quickly. One area that is under constant strain is the deployment of new or improved application code with the frequency and speed required by digital transformations. To meet these requirements, containerization has become increasingly popular as applications running in containers can be easily deployed to a variety of operating systems and hardware platforms.

Containerization is one of the latest developments in the evolution of cloud computing. Through capabilities such as continuous integration and delivery, many organizations, are considering containers to improve application life-cycle management.

Containers are now the foundation of the cloud. As more and more organizations are moving to the cloud, a private cloud platform is preferred since it ensures the necessary protection and control while enabling the employment of a variety of cloud services. With the use of containers, organizations are able to execute their applications on the cloud and achieve the three key requirements – 1) Modernize existing applications 2) Create new cloud-native enterprise applications 3) Open data center to work with cloud services.

Containers vs. VMs

Containerization vs Virtualization

Often, containers are compared to virtual machines (VMs). Similar to virtual machines, containers offer isolated environments for running your software applications, allowing you to package your application with libraries and other dependencies.   

In contrast, containers are far more lightweight and portable, requiring less overhead for developers and IT Ops teams, which provides numerous advantages.       

  • Containers are much more lightweight than VMs  
  • Containers virtualize at the OS level while VMs virtualize at the hardware level  
  • Containers share the OS kernel and use much lesser memory than VMs require  

In larger application deployments, multiple containers may be deployed as one or more container clusters.  

Benefits of Containerized Architecture

At the operating system level, containers make it simple to share CPU, memory, storage, and network resources. They also provide a logical packaging mechanism that allows applications to be isolated from the actual environment in which they execute. The benefits are:   

  • Increased portability – Multi-platform deployment is easy for applications running in containers.  
  • Agile development – Containers support agile and DevOps efforts to accelerate development, test, and production cycles.  
  • Scalability – Application container technology offers high scalability. A service-oriented application design can be used to enable resources in an application container to enable it to manage increasing workloads.  
  • Ease of Management – A container orchestration platform automates the installation, scaling, and management of containerized workloads and services. Scaling containerized programs, releasing new versions of apps, and providing monitoring, logging, and debugging, among other administration chores, can all be made easier with container orchestration platforms.  
  • Security – Application isolation as containers, will prevent malicious code from affecting other containers or the host operating system. Security permissions can also be set up to automatically prevent undesirable components from entering containers or to restrict communications with unwanted resources.  
Benefits of Containerized Architecture

Why is Containerization Necessary? 

Here are three use cases in which containerization is necessary for organizations:

  1. Microservices: Microservices are composed of multiple services that have their own unique database and data management model which are loosely coupled and can be independently deployed. Containerization will enable each microservice to be easily isolated, deployed, and scaled in an application.
  2. Cloud migration: As organizations move their digital assets, databases, applications, and IT resources to the cloud environment, containers will provide more portability. With containerization, organizations can “lift-and-shift” the existing applications from on-premise to the cloud without altering any code.
  3. Continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD): Containerization will enable automation since containers can be easily controlled by APIs, thus making the deployment of software to be more efficient for CI/CD pipelines.

All in all, containerization is now one of the most efficient methods of virtualization available to developers. The use of containers can minimize infrastructure costs while maximizing the team’s ability to focus on building great products by providing portability, agility, scalability, and ease of management with enhanced security. To learn more about containerization and its orchestration, read our partner, AWS’, article: https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/containerization/