What Are Containers and Why You Should Consider Using Them

rsz bigstock 173232536 What Are Containers and Why You Should Consider Using Them

In the world of technology and integration, a new deployment option is taking the industry by storm: containers. To think about how containers work for software, we have to think about physical shipping containers first. Containers are crucial to the shipping industry because their standard sizes are what keeps the industry running efficiently and streamlined. Before the use of shipping containers, shipping anything worldwide was a laborious pain. Standard sizes have made the process a lot easier.

The same idea is true with software containers. A container is an OS-level virtualization method for deploying and running applications without launching an entire VM for each application. Another way to think about containers is an isolated system that runs on a single control host. Code and its dependencies are packed into a container and can run anywhere. Because they are small, you can pack a lot of containers onto a single computer.

According to Gartner, by 2018, more than 50 percent of new workloads will be deployed using containers in at least one stage of the application lifecycle. Today, only about 22 percent of workloads use containers while 31 percent are evaluating switching to containers. Of the 31 percent, 64 percent are hoping to implement them within the next year.

Pros and cons of containers

Containers have four major advantages:

  • Faster deployment
  • Less overhead
  • Easier migration
  • Faster restart

These advantageous attributes are what made cloud applications possible. Containers also enable development and editing of microservices, so instead of making major changes to how the applications interact, containers can work independently of each other. This allows for faster and error-free software development.

One of the major disadvantages to containers is lack of isolation from the host OS. Because of this, security threats have easier access to the entire system. Another major disadvantage is each container must use the same OS as the base OS, whereas on a VM, unique OSs’ can be run.

The future of containers

It’s interesting to note that containers are being implemented by new companies with newer software, whereas older and bigger companies are still utilizing VMs. If a company did want to move away from using VMs, they could transfer those applications to a cloud-based service.

Containers can help your business quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace, both application-based and in your own infrastructure. Containers can help you to simplify integration of backend APIs and systems, embracing native features of your container management platforms to speed up your time to market.

With containers, you get to enjoy the flexibility to  move between cloud environments without rewriting your applications. For more information on containers and how to utilize them for your business, check out BusinessWorks Container Edition.

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