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Fast, Portable and Secure.

Containerization is a technology that is taking the IT world by storm! It’s no surprise considering the considerable benefits of shifting to a container based deployment.

container ship

Today we’ll be discussing the top benefits of containers, and why you might want to consider containers for your next web app. Let’s dig in!

Containers Are Lightweight

Compared to virtual machines (VMs), containers are significantly lighter on server resource usage. This is because unlike VMs, containers share the host operating system, and thus containers do not have operating systems of their own. Consider the following graphic to visualize resource usage across a typical 2-app (web/database) deployment scenario:

container graphic

With fewer demands on the server, we have the ability to dedicate more resources to your apps, where it really matters! In the simplified example above, you could possibly even add a third app on your server with the overhead savings from not having to run three independent guest operating systems. When you are looking to scale your app, these resource savings become absolutely critical.

Containers Are Fast

Being lightweight and not having an operating system means that containers are able to start and stop much faster than traditional VMs. In many cases, it can take seconds to start a container, compared to minutes to start a VM. There is no operating system to boot, so your app starts loading immediately.

Containers Are Secure

Containers are built on the concept of “namespaces”. Much like a traditional VMs, this essentially means that your apps are sandboxed, and not able to communicate with each other, (unless of course, you want them to!) This concept can be leveraged to help keep your apps secure and, data is only exposed between apps as you choose. Unlike a traditional dedicated server that might have a full LAMP stack running, it is common practice for each container to only provide a single service, so this can really help mitigate damage in the event of an attack.

Containers Are Developer Friendly

With containers, your developers are able to use the same environment for both development and production. This is a common stumbling block in web app development. Your developer may write an app on their Mac laptop, only to find that it doesn’t run on their Windows workstation. With containers, the image they build locally can be the same image that is run in production. How many times have you ran into a bug and heard, “that’s weird, it worked fine on my machine”? Combined with proper workflow, containers can help minimize these types of issues. Additionally, container building workflows lend themselves exceptionally well to CI/CD pipeline integrations. These advantages help your developers become more productive and efficient.

container ship on the ocean

Containers Are Portable

Container engines such as Docker are highly portable and able to run on basically any system. This means your developers are free to write the application on any system they choose and then deploy it on Mac, Windows, or Linux once it’s ready. Once your container images are built, it is simple to use tools such as Docker Hub to distribute your pre-built images across your servers.

Containers Are Easy To Scale

It is typical, (and indeed preferred,) for a container to strictly run a single service. Consider our simple web node/database example from earlier. This means that you would actually run two containers, one for the web server and a separate container for the database. Keeping your services separated helps keep them secure, but this also is a considerable advantage when you need to scale your application. Need to scale up for a big event or promotion? Simply fire up additional web nodes. You can elastically grow and shrink your platform to fit demand. Additionally, there are container “orchestration” tools, such as Kubernetes, to help provision clusters of containers as needed. Leveraging tools such as this can help keep your services highly available, and able to dynamically adjust to the ebb and flow of internet traffic.

Wrapping Up

In recent years, there has been an explosion of growth in container-based technologies and deployments. Industry analysts predict this trend will only continue to grow over the coming years! If you currently rely heavily on virtual machines for security and segregation of your web application, it is likely that you could stand to benefit from adopting a container-based approach. Interested in a bare metal server to be your next container powerhouse? Give our sales team a call! The industries Most Helpful Humans in Hosting are standing by 24×7, and we’ve got your back!

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About the Author: Noti Peppas

As a regular contributor to Knowledge Base center, Noti Peppas offers up how-to articles on Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora and much more!

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