Drawn picture of a container ship.

5 Reasons Why You Should Containerize

Containerization has turned into a de facto practice of software development. But some businesses are still hesitant to jump on the hype train. Learn about the 5 reasons why organizations containerize, and how the practice improves the development of applications on any scale.

#1: Containers Are Simple for Developers

More often than not, all it takes for an engineer is a docker compose up to start a containerized stack. Consistency and reusability represented by containerization done right is useful for software developers as it saves a lot of time they would need to go through manual steps without containers. A container can be sparked up on a development and a production environment with ease and the errors will be the same, which aligns with the shift-left testing focus that some DevOps teams prefer.

#2: Throwaway Containers for Experimentation

You can check your containers’ functionality out temporarily with docker run --rm -it debian:12 /bin/bash. Here’s how it works:

  • run: Starts a container from any particular image. It’s relevant as OCI standards dictate that containers need to be able to run without any parameters.
  • —rm: Deletes container after the process is exited.
  • -it: Starts an interactive container instance in Docker. I stands for interactive, T stands for pseudo tty.
  • debian:12: Interchangeable example image name and tag, can be any image.
  • /bin/bash: You need a shell that can be run inside the container. For this particular use bash is sufficient.

You can use this command like a cheat code when you’re prototyping, exploring containers or creating a Dockerfile in parallel.

#3: Effective Distribution

OCI standards provide a general solution to the problem of artifact distribution. Content addressed image layers make room for diverse usage of a container as you’re now able to store and transfer any data using images. On top of that, multiarchitecture use is now possible by adding new layers to a container which is demanded with the emergence of M1 and M2 chips as they turned the world upside down.

Image layers become handy when some elements of your containerized application change frequently, but the rest remains the same, like a frontend that gets changed on the regular compared to the backend that belongs to it.

#4: Security

The general rule of thumb when it comes to container security is to isolate build and runtime dependencies to minimize attack surface. Another important thing to keep in mind is SBOM, which stands for “software bill of materials”. Think of it like a de facto list of ingredients that are required to make an image and with its help you can discover vulnerabilities easier. Helping companies and individuals to do risk management more efficiently, you can generate it simply with docker sbom, which is supported for experimental use in Docker Engine 24.0.

#5: Minimal Performance Overhead

Ease of use comes with a mild trade-off compared to native run apps. Benchmark data shows that containerized application’s performance characteristics resemble the performance of native software. Since containerization is a feature of the Linux kernel process management, it’s the ideal way to run containerized applications in Linux environments. In any other OS, Docker runs containers in a virtualized environment compared to the native manner offered by Linux.

Time Is Money

Containerization has its limitations but it’s the way that makes more sense to run successful applications as it eliminates repeatable steps of maintenance. According to Gartner’s latest research, more than 90% of global organizations will use containerized software in production by 2027 as containerization poses as an accessible multipurpose technology of data and software delivery.

Docker vs. Podman

The obvious question at this point is whether you should go with Docker or Podman. Considering the big picture, these are interchangeable, but if extra security sounds good to you in turn for a bit of extra complexity, we suggest Podman. If you want to get started with containerization, take a look at Awesome Docker.

This blogpost was written by the team of dyrector.io. dyrector.io is an open-source continuous delivery & deployment platform with version management.

Find the project on GitHub.

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