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What are the major benefits of containerization?

The advantages of containerization become very evident in test and development environments. Explore how container technology is being used to verify application performance.

A majority of real-world container use cases revolve around development/test environments. One of the main benefits...

of containerization is providing the development team with an environment that mimics the production environment.

Some organizations have adopted the policy of containerizing any application that is developed in-house. Prior to the introduction of containers, it was relatively common for a newly written application to work in the development environment, but fail to function properly in the production environment. Containerizing apps that are built in-house not only makes it easy to port apps to the production environment, it ensures apps will behave in exactly the same way in the production environment as they did during development.

Another of the benefits of containerization in dev/test environments is how the technology implements versioning for applications under development. An organization can create an image repository from which it can take a specific version of an application and move it to a production or development server. If the application fails to perform as expected, a different version of the application can be chosen from the image repository. As such, the image repository functions as an application version library.

Containers and VMs

Even those organizations that don't conduct in-house development can reap the benefits of containerization by using containers to split applications into microservices -- an application subcomponent that performs a very specific task. A Web application, for instance, might be divided into microservices such as a Web server, application database and message queue.

When users split applications into microservices, the following benefits of containerization come into play:

  • Scalability. In the case of a Web application, the organization might scale the database component without having to scale the Web server or message queue.
  • Process isolation. It is possible to improve security by isolating each of an application's major processes into a separate container.

Next Steps

Docker containerization no longer limited to Linux

Comparing container architectures

The benefits of containers in the data center

This was last published in April 2016

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