With growing technology demands, the magnitude and complexity of the applications have also amplified. Containerization comes to the rescue as it helps modernize legacy systems by building scalable and portable cloud-native apps.
As virtualization stays the base layer for cloud migration, containerization is a process as strongly in demand as ever. However, virtualization can throw up some challenges, making cloud environments, public or private, less efficient.
- Environment inconsistency may result when migrating apps and packages to virtual environments.
- OS dependency issues happen when deployed apps only function on compatible systems.
- Isolation level issue creates an inability to provide an instant sandbox above the OS level.
- Compute consumption granularity happens due to the inability to deploy multiple replicated apps, as the app layer load balancing occurs only within a single machine instead of the OS layer.
- Canary and blue-green deployments lack flexibility at the cluster level and are difficult to manage across multiple regions, causing patching in production environments.
Many of these challenges are handled by efficient containerization at the virtualization layer.
What is Containerization
To allow a software package to run on any infrastructure or environment, including a virtual one, it can be packed into a single ‘container’ that consists of a software code with all the necessary components required to run it- like libraries, binaries, dependencies, and configuration files – creating a fully functional and portable computing environment. This allows the containerized software or application to be ported and run consistently in any environment and on any infrastructure.
The advantage it gives is that in a traditional virtualization process, software coded on one OS will face difficulties in running on another- and give rise to incompatibility, creating bugs, errors, and glitches. These eat into cost, time, and resource productivity plans. Containerizing abstracts the app container away from the host operating system.
Why Developers Prefer Containerization
For the advantage of developers, while virtual machines work well with traditional, monolithic IT architecture, containers are compatible with newer and emerging technologies. And environments. That is why containerization is so popular now, with rapidly increasing cloud adoption.
Here are some clear advantages that containerization offers to developers –
- Virtualization is essential on a single server to distribute multiple operating systems, but containerization is extra granular and flexible. It helps break down operating systems into smaller chunks to use them more efficaciously. Moreover, an app container helps to package apps in a software-defined and portable environment. So, the market for app container technology helping modernize legacy apps and build new, cloud-native scalable software marks its significance.
- Containerization offers less overhead during startup and eliminates the need to set up distinct guest operating systems for each app, as they share one OS kernel. Software developers prefer containerization for packing several individual microservices to create modern applications.
- Containerization enables software developers to create and deploy apps more quickly and securely. Traditional methods help develop code in a specific computing environment, which often causes bugs and errors while transferring the code to a new location. An example would be moving the code from a desktop to a virtual machine or between different operating systems, like Windows to Linux.
- Containerization helps eliminate this problem by enabling the bundling of supplication code with its relevant configuration files, libraries, and dependencies. The developer can then abstract the software’s single package (container) away from the host operating system, where it can stand alone and be portable, enabling it to run on any cloud or platform sans issues.
- Even though containerization and process isolation are decades old, the advent of an open-source Docker Engine in 2013 fast-tracked the adoption of app container technology. The Docker engine has attained an industry standard for containerization processes with simple developer tools and a universal packaging method.
- Containers are often referred to as lightweight in the industry, meaning they share the same OD kernel of the machine and don’t need any overhead, like virtualization, to associate the OS in each application. Therefore, containers have a fundamentally smaller capacity than a virtual machine and take less time to start, enabling more containers to run on a single computer capacity like one virtual machine. This method helps in driving higher server competencies while reducing licensing and server costs.
Simply put, containerization helps developers in writing applications once and run them efficiently on every platform or OS. This portability level proves vital in terms of developing processes and vendor compatibility. It also offers various other benefits like security, fault isolation, ease of management, speed, agility, continuity, and scalability.