#wrapITup is a series on CloudwithCaleb where we explore what containers are, why they are all the rage in IT, and how the cloud is the perfect place for them to live.
Over the last couple of installments of the #wrapITup series, we have looked at the emergence of containerization within IT. We started by exploring why containerization gained popularity, how Dockerfiles are written, how the cloud is used to host and eventually deploy Docker images. In this installment, we will bring it all together and summarize the benefits that you can expect from containerizing your applications.
Maybe the most popular benefit that containers provide is their ability to create isolated environments. Container environments allow applications running in them to independently be updated without affecting the host it’s running on or other running containers. This provides enormous ease on the strain of managing applications that are built to run with several containers.
Scale it out
When the load gets heavy, and too much is demanded from a single container, we have the ability to spin up replica containers to divide the load. Being able to scale containers up or down (which means to increase the replicas or to reduce them), allows for flexibility when dealing with varying demand and can lead to significant performance increases, loss of downtime as well as cost savings if managed well. Sounds interesting?… You should probably look into Kubernetes! 😉
Simplify Application Deployment
Build it once, and it will run. The beauty of container images is that once they work, they work. When the docker image is available, it can be used again and again by developers to create as many instances of the app as needed. This significantly reduces time spent on configuring application environments. Automation tools such as Azure DevOps or Jenkins can be used to automate the deployment of Docker images as well, allowing for one-click application deployments.
Run it everywhere
Docker images provide immense flexibility thanks to their self-contained nature. By design, containers can be spun up on a myriad of different platforms, and each runs the same docker image as it is intended. This allows for significant freedom for IT teams in how they choose to architect their environments.
Near instantaneous deployment
Containers are built to be created and destroyed. As there is no need anymore to start the computer, install the operating system, configure the environment, etc., containers can be spun up within seconds. This saves significant amounts of time across the board from containers used in production to meet demands or for developers writing new code who need access to certain applications.
Many operating systems, even minimal ones, often use several gigabytes of space. Containers on the other hand are often several dozen megabytes. This allows for many containers to run on a single server, ultimately reducing the cost needed for the underlying hardware.
Wrapping up the container
This concludes the introductory installments of #wrapITup as we covered the foundations of how containers work and why they are crucial to the modern IT landscape. Many organizations building cloud-native applications, heavily employ containerization technology to deploy their applications to the cloud.
So if you or your organization is thinking about moving to the cloud, or in the process of doing so, I highly recommend you take a hard look at the benefits of containerization.