To create good software, developers often have to weave in the UI, frameworks, databases, libraries, and of course a whole bunch of code modules. These elements together build an immersive user experience on the front-end. However, deploying and testing software is way too complex these days as all these elements should be properly set-up in order to build successful software.
Here, containers are of a great help as they enable developers to pack all the contents of their app, including the code, libraries, and other dependencies, and ship it over as a singular package. One can think of software as a puzzle and containers just help one to get all the pieces in their proper position for the effective functioning of the software. Docker is one of the popular choices in containers.
The rise of Docker Containers
Linux Containers have been in the market for almost a decade. However, it was after the release of Docker five years ago that developers widely started using containers in a simple way. At present, containers, especially Docker containers are popular and in use everywhere and this popularity seems set to stay.
As per our Packt Skill Up developer survey on top sysadmin and virtualization tools, almost 46% of the developer crowd voted that they use Docker containers on a regular basis. It ranked third after Linux and Windows OS in the lead.
Source: Packt Skill Up survey 2018
Also, organizations such as Red Hat, Canonical, Microsoft, Oracle and all other major IT companies and cloud businesses that have adopted Docker.
Docker is often confused with virtual machines; read our article on Virtual machines vs Containers to understand the differences between the two. VMs such as Hyper-V, KVM, Xen, and so on are based on the concept of emulating hardware virtually. As such, they come with huge system requirements. On the other hand, Docker containers or in general containers use the same OS and kernel.
Apart from this, Docker is just right if you want to use minimal hardware to run multiple copies of your app at the same time. This would, in turn, save huge costs on power and hardware for data centers annually.
Docker containers boot within a fraction of seconds unlike virtual machines that require 10-20 GB of operating system data to boot, which eventually slows down the whole process.
For CI/CD, Docker makes it easy to set up environments for local development that replicates a live server. It helps run multiple development environments using different software, OS, and configurations; all from the same host. One can run test projects on new or different servers and can also work on the same project with similar settings, irrespective of the local host environment.
Docker can also be deployed on the cloud as it is designed for integration within most of the DevOps platforms including Puppet, Chef, and so on. One can even manage standalone development environments with it.
Why developers love Docker
Docker brought in novel ideas in the market for the organizations starting with making containers easy to use and deploy. In the year 2014, Docker announced that it was partnering with the major tech leaders Google, Red Hat, and Parallels on its open-source component libcontainer. This made libcontainer the defacto standard for Linux containers. Microsoft also announced that it would bring Docker-based containers to its Azure Cloud.
Docker has also donated its software container format and its runtime, along with its specifications to Linux’s Open Container Project. This project includes all the contents of the libcontainer project, nsinit, and all other modifications such that it can independently run without Docker. Further, Docker Containerd, is also hosted by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
Few reasons why Docker is preferred by many:
- It has a great user experience, which helps developers to use the programming language of their choice.
- One requires to perform less amount of coding
- One can run Docker on any operating system such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and etc.
The Docker Kubernetes combo
DevOps can be used to deploy and monitor Docker containers but they are not highly optimized for this task. Containers need to be individually monitored as they contain huge density in respect to the matter they contain. The possible solution to this is cloud orchestration tools, and what better than Kubernetes as it is one of the most dominant cloud orchestration tools in the market.
As Kubernetes has a bigger community and a bigger share of the market, Docker made a smart move to include Kubernetes as one of its offerings. With this, Docker users and customers can not only use Kubernetes’ secure orchestration experience but also an end-to-end Docker experience.
Docker gives an A to Z experience for developers and system administrators. With Docker, Developers can focus on writing code and forget about the rest of the deployment. They can also make use of different programs designed to run on Docker and can make use of it in their own projects. System administrators in a way can reduce system overhead as compared to VMs. Docker’s portability and ease of installation make it easy for admins to save a bunch of time lost in installing individual VM components. Also, with Google, Microsoft, RedHat, and others absorbing Docker technology in their daily operations, it is surely not going anywhere soon. Docker’s future is bright and we can expect machine learning to be a part of it sooner than later.
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