Containerized solutions have been gaining more and more attention in the IT sector in recent years as a tool that allows businesses to step up the app development process. As a crucial component of the DevOps methodology, containerization benefits involve better performance, flexibility, scalability and mobility for your business.
Perhaps not all companies are using this tool, but some are: in a 2022 global survey, 16% of respondents said that containerization was a significant technology for their operations. And more importantly, the container management business is forecast to expand rapidly over the next few years, with revenue rising from $465.8 million in 2020 to nearly $1 billion in 2024.
By utilizing containerization solutions, any forward-thinking firm may enjoy significant advantages in terms of portability, adaptability and speed - it simply makes app development easier and more profitable. This article will help you understand what is in IT, what are the pros and how it is commonly used.
What is Containerization?
App containerization enables companies to run individual programs rather than entire VMs - and that saves a lot of financial resources. In its simplest form, containerization is the bundling of code together with all its essential dependencies (e.g. libraries) into a single, isolated "container”.
This technology makes it possible for the software within the container to be transferred to any infrastructure, regardless of platform or underlying operating system, where it can function reliably. It is perfect for testing and deploying software, as this isolated environment enables scalability and the use of microservices, which means that in the event of an upgrade or transfer of a particular application or software, the rest of the infrastructure is not affected, and the service does not have to be completely stopped.
The fundamental concept is to virtualize an OS and provide containers to access a single kernel. The software required to run each container is supplied (libraries, repositories, frameworks, etc.)
How should these mutliple containers be managed? Container orchestration can help with this. Container orchestration platforms, such as Kubernetes or Docker Swarm, automate the setup, scaling and communication between containers.
What’s the Origin of Containerized Solutions?
The idea of containerization and process separation has been around for a while - containers were first introduced in the late 1970s when Unix V7 was developed. Between 2001 and 2007, many businesses, including Oracle, started investing in early Linux kernel technologies.
But it was not until 2013 that the open-source Docker Engine was developed - a standardized container tool came into existence. Since then, technologies have been unified, and standard container tools appeared, as well as container orchestrators (Kubernetes) have been created. Storage container standards were established through Ceph and REX -Ray. Flannel connects mutliple containers via a network of data centres.
Typical Uses for Using Multiple Containers
Containerization is being used more often by businesses today to develop new apps and upgrade legacy systems.
- Creating databases - Containerization of database fragments transform individual databases into their modular counterparts. This increases the credibility of the process. The high consistency of database containers is critical to building and maintaining an agile environment.
- Microservices architecture - Different containers are configured to work together when used and deactivated in microservices using container technology. Via a microservices framework that combines microservices with containers, this creates a highly scalable system that is immune to the potential limitations of a central database.
- Developer testing - Containers allow software developers who want to focus on a particular component to easily launch it on their computers. Since they can test and assess each piece of code separately, they do not have to deploy a large, compiled code base and then troubleshoot problems with it.
- Cloud / ADC / Legacy Apps and more - It also streamlines the execution of repetitive tasks and operations, such as batch processes, and is commonly used for cloud migrations, ADC and legacy app migrations.
Containerization vs Virtual Machines
The ability to isolate applications so that they can run in various contexts is a common feature of containerization and virtualization. The biggest differences are in size, mobility, and goals. In containerization, the operating system layer is separated from the self-contained environment, while the hardware layer is not replicated. As a result, the program can function without dependence on the host OS.
Virtualization - Virtual Machines
A VM is a standard computer with an operating system, such as a laptop, but it is virtual, with no physical representation. You can do everything on a VM that is possible on physical hardware, e.g. connect via clouding, work on software, launch apps and games.
Containerization - Containerized Applications
The basic idea of containerization in app development with respect to VMs is that to test software, you do not need the entire system, e.g., graphics cards, drivers, OS, the entire infrastructure. You only need the system core (kernel), an isolated fragment of it, to perform tests and deployments.
Containers are used for testing, for example, because you can automate test scenarios, and if something goes wrong, the container reports the error, which is a great help for developers to check if the software works correctly.
Containerization Technologies – Is it Worth It?
Since containers offer advanced functionalities, lightweight and portability, containerization has a lot to offer software developers. However, compared to a virtual machines, monitoring and maintaining containers is a more difficult endeavor. Let us go through our list of pros and cons of container systems.
Advantages of Containerization
- Better speed - Containers aren't overwhelmed by extra overheads because they connect to a machine's operating system. Because they consume fewer resources and run multiple spatial contexts within a single kernel, a container is faster than a virtual machine. As a result, your applications may operate on a fast, lightweight, and isolated architecture.
- Portability - By removing the host operating system, containerization creates executable software app bundles. Thanks to it, the OS does not get in the way of improved application performance. The container often comes with the application, libraries, frameworks, dependencies and all necessary files. It provides an easy way to move your service effortlessly.
- Performance - Compared to VMs, containers load rapidly, have higher processing power and are smaller. They also take less time to boot up, so many containers can operate with the same processing power as a single VM. Benefits of containerization such as higher server productivity, lower server and licensing costs and efficient operation are guaranteed.
Disadvantages of Containerization
- Greater costs – Implementing containers can be very expensive. While containers significantly reduce the cost of building applications in the long run, installation costs are higher. Also, finding competent container programmers is challenging. Compared to not using containers, using this technology to develop new applications increases development costs by about 30%.
- Security issues – Maintaining a good level of security is an issue for 32% of development teams, according to RevDeBug. Sharing the same operating system through containers, while an advantage in terms of efficiency and speed, leads to serious security problems. The security of all apps linked to the OS will be compromised if a flaw in the kernel is exposed.
- Additional complexity - Coordination and management overhead is higher because operations and maintenance are more complex than you might expect. There can be hundreds of containers running a primary application, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of a service outage. To handle all these containers, you need an orchestrator like Kubernetes, Mesos, or Red Hat OpenShift.
Containerized Architecture is the Future
There's no denying it - containerization technologies are the future of app development. Since each program does not have to run on its own operating system and beneficial process separation is possible, it is a less resource-intensive choice.
The adoption of containers is helpful for both the technical and commercial sides of the IT sector, as it reduces costs and streamlines IT operations while making development much simpler and more productive. Despite their drawbacks, containerization techniques help to lower overall risk and meet the demand for rapid software development.
However, before choosing the best containerized architecture, you need to take into account a number of factors. If you need help with that, contact us and our experts will be happy to offer their expertise and support.