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What Are Containers?

What are containers explained

In a past blog post, Canadian Web Hosting announced the availability of Windows Server 2016 for our clients. One of the major features in the new server operating system were containers. But exactly what is a container? How is it used, and what are the benefits? For a quick rundown on what a container is and how it operates, check out the article below!

The Container and Its Benefits

Containers are used when transferring software from one computing environment to another. The container is a tool that allows software to run with minimal to no problems at all. This solution works like this: a container consists of a whole run time environment where the libraries, binaries, application and configuration files needed to run the container are put into one package. This way, any OS distribution discrepancies along with infrastructure are abstracted regardless of the situation. In essence, containers make it easier for developers to know that their software will run anywhere.

Even more beneficial is the microservices component. Microservices simply break down applications into many small parts that are able to communicate with one another. As you may have guessed, it gives more flexibility to developers with multiple teams to work on different aspects of the application with lower chances of error and higher rates of efficiency.

Containers vs. Virtual Machines

Before containers, virtual machines allowed for a single server to run various different operating systems and applications that were isolated from one another. What separates the two is the fact that virtual machines package their operating system and code together. It means that they each believe they have a server to themselves, even though they share the server with other virtual machines.

With containers, a user is able to put lots of them on a single host operating system due to its packaging (explained above). Containers directly talk to the only operating system on the server, the host operating system. This means extremely low overhead and smaller containers, something the virtual machines do not offer. Additionally, containers use less memory because they start quicker whereas virtual machines have to reboot a full operating system each time.

 

Container vs VM
Photo Credit: docker.com

 

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