Visit any software development and tech related conference today and you will surely hear about containers. Just a few years ago, the big companies were discussing the amazing things that virtual machines could do. Just a little more than a year ago they started talking about containers. And today, everyone is wondering what containers are and why these companies are becoming so obsessed with them. If you haven’t heard the term container then you must have heard about Docker.
Docker is pretty much synonymous to containers now and you need proper Docker training to use Docker containers. Let’s take a look at why big companies are concerned about containers. Big companies of the world work in multiple countries. They need huge datacenters with hundreds and thousands of servers to take care of every application they are running. They use applications not only internally but externally too i.e. the services you use on the internet. If you are looking at a picture on Amazon and zooming on it to have a closer look, you are using an application that is running on Amazon’s servers. Now, since millions of people are using such applications, they have to be backed up by hundreds of servers.
The server machines these big companies use have server operating systems installed on them. Some use Linux and some Windows based operating systems. Running one application across these hundreds and thousands of servers can be quite a challenge. You could not afford to hire a separate server to run an application separately just because it can’t run on your server’s operating system due to incompatibilities. Virtual machines were the best answer to this problem but it proved with time that they were costly. Depending on the size of a company, such costs could add up to millions and billions of dollars.
Containers made it possible for these companies to run applications on their servers without worrying about the dependencies of that application. The container packs all the files and dependencies of the application that you are trying to run. The Docker engine on your server machine runs these containers. Containers use the resources from the host server’s operating system through Kernel. In the case of virtual machines, each virtual machine has its own operating system making the virtual machine extremely heavy for resources. Now, with containers, these companies can literally save millions and billions of dollars in the long run.
Docker has made it possible for these big companies to run their applications in parts and in the cloud environment. When an application is broken into small parts with each part having its own functionality, the term used for it is microservices. Containers have made it possible for microservices running on the same server without requiring their own operating systems. This simplifies things even more for large tech companies. A huge tech company like Microsoft has now joined hands with Docker, and it now plans to launch a separate server operating system to support the Windows containers made by Docker.
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