By Pablo Puig
If you are in tech, you have probably heard of containers. Containerization is an easy way to pack, ship, and deploy applications. Containers isolate an application or service with its dependencies and configurations into a single unit called a container image. You can test and deploy this container image to any host. You can also think of containers as an operating system virtualization technique.
At first, containers may seem similar to virtual machines (VM), but they are a bit different. Containers provide operating system (OS) level virtualization where virtual machines have hardware virtualization. Also, containers share the host system kernel with other containers in an isolated environment. Due to these capabilities, containers are lightweight and faster.
1. Microservice Architecture
Organizations worldwide are adopting microservices over large monolithic applications for faster development and updates. Microservices are self-contained services that need to be deployed and managed independently. Containers provide these microservices with isolated workload environments. This process makes it easy to deploy and scale these microservices independently in separate containers. Also, containers make microservice architecture easy to scale. If you have more visitors and sell more during a particular season, you can increase the capacity of your architecture easily.
2. Multi-Cloud Deployment
If you use multi-cloud or hybrid cloud solutions, you can use containers to deploy your applications across the different cloud environments. Due to the portable nature of containers, you can rapidly move them from one cloud environment to another on-premise, to the cloud, or vice versa. Also, if you are looking to migrate from on-premise to a cloud environment, you can package your application with containers and deploy them to your favorite cloud later.
It is easy to host a multi-tenancy architecture with containers. In multi-tenancy architecture, a single instance serves multiple customers; these customers are called tenants.
Multi-tenancy architecture can also be achieved through virtualization by hosting multiple isolated virtual machines on a single server, and each VM has a guest OS. (Its size is large, and more resources are required to function.) The multi-tenancy architecture on containers is lightweight and faster. Therefore, the container will take a few seconds to start compared to the gigabytes and minutes required to start a VM.
4. Developer Productivity and Early Application Development
Containers provide a handy way to develop and test applications that increase developer productivity. If you are in the early stage of application development and want to test a version, you can execute it from your PC without hosting on the main OS. You do not have to set a complete testing environment. Instead, you can spin a container with dependencies to test the application. Thus, developers need to worry less about environment setup and debugging. Instead, they can work on new product features.
5. Easy Configuration and DevOps Adoption
It is simple to set configurations with containers. We put a lot of effort into setting up the configurations and dependencies for software development. It takes a lot of time. With containers, you only need to put the configurations in your code and deploy it. Also, containers support the CI/CD pipeline for continuous development and DevOps configurations.
Alibaba Cloud allows you to deploy containers with full lifecycle management of applications. Some of the key features of Alibaba Cloud Container Service are networking, storage, scheduling, routing, monitoring, high availability, resource, and cluster management. You can use it to deploy your containerized applications with high performance and enhanced security.
Containerization is a lightweight and faster technique to pack, ship, and deploy applications to any operating system or environment in an isolated unit. Portability, scalability, isolation, and control over the application lifecycle are some of the benefits of using containers.
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