The way data is stored, and applications are executed has changed dramatically over the years, thanks to cloud computing technologies. Users can now use powerful machines and storage units without having to install them on-premises or pay a fortune on maintenance.
Earlier, applications used to be created or deployed on operating systems which meant that even if you are hosting an application remotely, you cannot move it from one cloud or service provider to another. However, now with containers into the picture, you can build applications with keeping future migration requirements in mind.
This blog will help you understand what a cloud container is, how it works, and everything else you need to know about them.
What are containers?
Containers are a type of virtualization for operating systems. Everything from small microservices and software processes to large applications can be run in a single container. All of the needed executables, binary code, libraries, and configuration files are contained in the container. In contrast to server or machine virtualization, the container does not include an operating system image. This drastically minimizes the amount of overhead, making it extremely light and portable. You can deploy numerous containers as one or more container clusters for big application deployments. Docker containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have the ability to handle such clusters and fuel its growth.
How do containers work?
Entire containerization process rather than relying on the underlying operating system (OS), wraps dependency files, and libraries inside the container itself. Cloud containers is not the same as a full-fledged, complicated application running in a regular virtual or non-virtual environment. Each container is virtually isolated, and each application has direct access to the shared operating system kernel without the use of a virtual machine.
The standardized container management process includes 4 stages:
Container use cases in the cloud
In cloud systems, containers are becoming increasingly significant. Containers are being considered by many organizations as a viable alternative to virtual machines (VMs). For large enterprise workloads, virtual machines (VMs) have long been the recommended alternative.
Containers are used by businesses and other organizations because they enable:
- Agile software development
- High productivity
- Future-proof options
Listed below are some use cases, that are ideal for running containers in the cloud –
Microservices – Microservices architecture consist of a large number of loosely connected, independently deployable services, and lightweight containers are excellent for them.
DevOps – Microservices architecture and containers are used by many DevOps teams to build apps and distribute services respectively. Containers can also be used to install and scale DevOps infrastructure such as the CI/CD tool.
Hybrid and multi-cloud – Containers can be highly useful in moving workloads for enterprises that work in multi cloud environments. These are standardized entities that can be moved between on-premises data centers and any public cloud with ease.
Application modernization – Containerizing a legacy application and moving it to the cloud unaltered (a model known as “lift and shift”) is a frequent way to modernize applications on cloud.
Benefits of containers in cloud
Container solutions offer significant benefits to both enterprises and software developers. Container technology has made it possible to develop, test, deploy, scale, rebuild, and destroy applications for different platforms or environments using the same method. Below are the top 3 benefits of cloud containers:
- Ease of deployment
Unlike virtual machines, which need the installation of an entire operating system, cloud containers virtualize a particular application by breaking it down into smaller code chunks. Each chunk contains the necessary system software to run on its own. This makes initiating containerization, simple and quick.
- Isolation boundaries
The server is like a string of pearl. If one of them break, the entire system will be rendered useless. Isolation boundaries for containers are set at the application level rather than at the server level. Only one container will be affected if something goes wrong within a single container (for example, if the process consumes too many resources, the virtual machine or server remains unaffected).
- Scalability & portability
Another advantage of containers is their portability. After the container is created, programmers can move it between providers or deploy it to another server without having to rewrite the code for each new operating system or platform. This is particularly crucial as applications move away from limited devices, such as a desktop computer is a gadget that serves millions of people and is frequently utilized on a range of devices. Containers enable you to scale your applications to meet the needs of new workloads.
Containers are becoming more and more popular mainly for the efficiency it offers to enterprises that want to move their on-premises apps to the cloud. Containers are an ideal fit for DevOps for the simplicity and speed it offers. It facilitates portability, scalability, resiliency of applications, promotes DevOps development, and offload of on-premises resources to cloud providers across development, test and staging environments.