Containerization is considered an up-gradation over the VM technology. It is all about packaging the requirements of an application under development in the form of a base image. This image can run in an isolated space (containers) on different systems. It is crucial to remember that these containers share the same OS. Most IT leaders are intrigued by this technology because it is often used for deploying and running a distributed app without having to use a Virtual Machine (VM).
Containers are also capable of sharing the host system kernel with other containers in an isolated environment. Although containers are virtually capable of deploying any kind of application, they particularly perform well under certain use cases and application formats. Let’s have a look at a few of its use cases.
Organizations are adopting microservices architecture for the rapid development of applications. Applications based on microservices architecture are natively suitable for containers. Developers can easily deploy individual microservices in a separate container and later integrate the containers together via orchestration tools like Docker, Kubernetes, etc.
Technically, microservices can be deployed inside VMs as well. But low resource consumption and faster load times of containers make them suitable for microservices applications. Also, containers make microservice architecture easier to scale.
Containers are easy to configure. There are not a lot of configuration settings and dependency handling like in software development. The Docker container you are using on your Linux machine can run on any version of Linux without the need for any special configuration for different Linux distributions or versions. The only limitation of docker containers is that one can’t use the container created for Linux on Windows and vice versa. So, Docker containers are not completely OS agnostic.
Containers are portable in nature. This means one can easily move their container from one cloud environment to another with minimum configuration changes. For teams relying on multi-cloud architecture, they can pack their application using containers and then deploy it to the hybrid cloud environment of their choice. Containers are also beneficial if you are looking for a solution to migrate from on-premise solutions to cloud environments.
A multi-tenancy architecture refers to one single instance that serves multiple customers. The customers are known as tenants. Using containers, it is easier to host a multi-tenancy architecture.
Multi-tenancy architecture can be achieved by leveraging virtualization technology. It is done by hosting multiple virtual machines on a single server where each VM has a guest OS. However, the operational functionality of VM is irrelevant as the size will be huge, and a tremendous amount of resources will be consumed to function. Using containerization technology, one can achieve a multi-tenancy architecture that is both lightweight and faster. Containers take a few seconds to start compared to gigabytes of data that requires several minutes to start a VM.
Traditionally, applications need to be configured two times for test and deployment environments separately. But what if we can test and deploy under the same environment? Inside a docker container, developers have the ability to test the application and then deploy the same. When testing applications in the same environment as deployment, developers don’t need to worry much about configuration differences that can give rise to unanticipated problems.
Containerization use cases are moving way beyond cloud-native applications. Organizations are exploring extensive use cases—everything from managing IoT devices to application modernization—and deploying containers in multi-cloud environments. Based on my experience with the technology, I have tried to showcase a few of the containerization use cases. Let me know if you have any questions regarding the same. I would be glad to answer them.