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What is Containerization? Definition and Best Practices

2021-12-03
what is containerization article

Before 2026, experts are expecting to see the application container market to have a CAGR of 29%, as more enterprises are seeking a “digital-first experience.” Hardware management is difficult and expensive. Developers and IT professionals have long used hardware to host their different applications, while others use virtualization to simplify this process for dozens of applications. Both methods have been effective in the past, but also present several serious problems – problems now managed by containerization.


Aside from the cost of hardware, it requires constant physical maintenance that must be performed by a skilled professional, and a great deal of costly power and cooling. While virtualization promised a more simple and cost-effective option, it still presents issues with resource management. It’s great to run many VMs on a single piece of hardware, but this still requires a great amount of dedicated work-hours and staff energy to maintain.


What is Containerization?

Containerization is often described as the natural evolution of virtualization. Containerization manages each application as if it is totally independent. Containers that wish to communicated with each other or another server must follow the same process as they would using a traditional network interface – it’s easy to see why this is easier and safer for IT teams. The biggest benefit of containerization is the ability to limit the number of cores and amount of memory dedicated to each application, and running in each container.


How does Containerization Work?

Let’s think about shipping containers for a moment. Imagine how hard it would be to transport 2000 cell phones, each packaged individually and loaded on a pallet. Imagine what a cargo ship would look like if thousands of unsecure containers were dumped together. It would be quite a mess.


IT containerization starts with a container, called a Docker. A Docker is based on a Linux kernel that creates the container for the OS. Docker accesses single OS kernals to managed many different, independently packaged applications, each running in their own container. These pre-packaged containners are easy to move around, and simple to adjust. As they are independent, any changes you make are independent to the single container, and no other applications are affected.


Each container thinks it is running on its own machine, and is entirely self-sufficient. This configuration means that containers can’t be easily modified, meaning that without significant effort, each container will be the same, every time you create one. This reliability means you can rely on everything being right where you want it and need it.


Docker containers are usually “read-only,” with a image-only version available in read-write format. When a container is created, it is connected to a local host. It is then given an IP address to inform any further adjustments or applications.


Benefits of Containerization

Let’s take a few minutes to look at the benefits of using containerized web applications, for a deeper understanding of why this technology is unstoppable.


  1. More agile software development – because containers are easier to set up and developer tools are easy to use, containerized applications are faster, more flexible and easier to manage
  2. Lower cost than VMs – because containers don’t need as many OS or hypervisor resources, it reduces the amount spent on servers and licensing. They also boast faster boot times and a smaller memory, both helping boost efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  3. Portability between digital workspaces – each container runs the same in any location, every time. This means increased compatibility across workspaces, and easy use with different clouds and devices.
  4. Isolation for apps and microservices – when one container fails, others aren’t affected as they are isolated from each other. They can also be easily repaired and redeployed if they go down.
  5. Easier management – solutions like a Kubernetes platform make management easier and faster. Changes, updates and repairs are done easily using Docker Kubernetes.

Docker Containerization

Docker appeared on the IT scene in 2013, and has seen nothing but upward mobility and increased adoption since that day. Docker containerization, or Kubernetes (pronounced ku-burr-net-ees), is the most trusted container orchestration platforms, developed by Google before being open-sourced, and now managed by Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Some of Kubernetes benefits include:


  • Easily exposes containers using DNS name or IP address
  • Handles container load balancing and traffic distribution
  • Automatic local and cloud-based storage
  • CPU and RAM resources allocated to containers and fit onto nodes
  • Eliminate problematic containers immediately
  • Easier password and data management
  • Change, roll-back or replace containers easily and quickly

Containerized Applications & Services

Containerization is most useful in situations that we once relied on virtualization for, as it lends itself easily to several different important functions. Containerized applications and services are most often used to manage the following elements:


  • Microservices architecture is valuable as a set of containers which work in tandem and can be brought up and shut down, on-demand.
  • Databases are containerized, with each application allocated to a specific database, rather than connecting them in a more traditional monolithic database.
  • Web servers are brought up easily and quickly, and lets IT administrators run the server independently of the host.
  • Containers within VMs maximize hardware use and specific services, in addition to allowing increased security functions.

5 Best Containerization Management Tools

You didn’t do all this work to further complicate the compute and application delivery process! It’s important to set up effective and easy management for your containers. While some businnesse are fully investing in this technology to future-proof themselves, some enterprises prefer to stick a toe in the water with open-source containerization management tools. Lets explore a few of the most reputable tools on the market today!


  1. Kubernetes – one of the first container solutions, developed by Google
  2. Docker Swarm – groups together assets and services for easy management
  3. KubeManager – based on standard Kubernetes with simplicity and elasticity managing containers between public and private cloud
  4. Red Hat OpenShift - a family of containerization software products developed by Red Hat
  5. Rancher - the open-source multi-cluster orchestration platform, lets operations teams deploy, manage and secure enterprise Kubernetes.

For more information on making containerization work for you, contact Sangfor Technologies today.