Hot Stuff: Containerism and Docker

shipping containersIt truly is a great time to be alive. Each year yields so many technological advancements and this trend only seems to get more intense with each interval. We hear so much talk about blockchain, artificial intelligence, and a whole lot of other tech, but there’s one that’s potentially disruptive (in a good way) that’s often overlooked — containerism.

To put things in simple terms, a container functions in the same manner that a virtual machine does. It functions as an independent machine, complete with its own operating system, as well as its own dedicated resources. However, what sets containers apart from VMs is that they can do all these things on a single instance of Windows. It basically cuts out the need for a hypervisor.

Containerism can be a difficult concept to grasp, and the use of Docker— the app that’s at the forefront of containerism — even more so.  In this article we list the main advantages of adopting this new method so booking yourself or your team on a docker training course is the next logical step.

ROI and Cost Savings

In the same manner that VMs are able to make use of the system’s capabilities to optimal levels, containers such as Docker greatly reduce resources dedicated to infrastructure. This is because Docker requires significantly less resources to run an application compared to VMs. Not only that, but Docker means that engineering teams can function at the same capacity with less people on the team.

Purer Testing

Because Docker runs applications in their own container (complete with dedicated resources), there are less variables that can interfere with testing. This creates a more standardized environment in which applications can be tested. Think of containers as an “authorized personnel only” zone where only the necessary people are allowed to enter. This allows software engineers to quickly pinpoint bugs and to repair these bugs accordingly. This in turn leads to a significant increase in productivity.

Rapid Startup

VMs take minutes to become functional. This is because each process needs its own instance of a hypervisor, whereas Docker can run multiple processes on a single operating system. Docker can deploy applications in mere milliseconds.

Security

Because each application runs on its own dedicated resources inside a container, infection is likely to be contained within that specific container — if it happens at all. Apart from that, each application is secure in the sense that it cannot interfere with the processes of an application that’s running in a different container.

Compatibility

The uncanny ability for applications to run in containers (and their dedicated resources) is one that completely eliminates compatibility issues. Basically each container image will run the same way, regardless of whose computer or server it’s running on. This translates to less time setting up suitable environments for apps, less time debugging, and an overall increase in productivity.

Potential Technological Disruption

A disruptive technology is defined as a piece of technology that has a great chance of replacing existing technology of the same type. A staunch example of this concept can be found in the iPhone from Apple. Before its introduction, the mobile communication industry was so focused on feature phones. Everybody remembers the venerable Nokia 3310 and there’s a big reasons why feature phones are nearly extinct, save for a measly few — the smartphone.

Suddenly, phones weren’t just phones anymore. Smartphones effectively replaced the feature phone in such a short period. Today, almost everyone and their mother owns a smartphone and it’s even affectionately referred to as the “most popular prosthetic”.

And why did this happen? Because the smartphone proved that a phone could be so much more. Suddenly the phone could be a pocket computer, a music player, a camera, a gaming machine, and so much more. It was this idea that totally disrupted the industry’s notion of what a phone could be capable of.

Containerism has the exact same potential as the smartphone to become a disruptive piece of technology. And every disruptive tech has to replace an older, less potent piece of tech. In this case, containerism — and Docker specifically — has the potential to replace virtual machines altogether.

Why is this information relevant? What could you possibly get out of knowing that Docker could potentially replace VMs?

The answer is simple — evolution.

I’m referring to evolution in the business sector in particular. To illustrate this clearly, I want you to think of Nokia. It was the biggest brand in the world when it came to feature phones. There was once a time that everybody and their mother owned a Nokia.

But that changed rather quickly. In the span of a few years, Nokia was forgotten in favor of brands that took advantage of the shifting trend. Samsung and Apple have been the forerunners in the smartphone industry for so many years, while Nokia all but disappeared — they couldn’t keep up with the change, even as they tried to play catch-up with their Windows Phone line.

You wouldn’t want to be Nokia. Keep with the times, get with the program. Because this could very well spell your success or your utter failure in the future.

To further prove my point of keeping with the times, look at Nokia now. They’ve re-emerged in 2017 under HMD Global. And they, too, have begun using Android as their platform of choice. They’ve evolved to keep up with the demands of the consumers and that’s a safe move, but also one that’s very wise.

One can only imagine what would have happened if they had done this earlier, if they had adopted the disruptive technology earlier in the form of the smartphone instead of trying to fight the current.

The fact here is that we’ll never know what could have been. But if there’s one thing that’s as sure that the sun will rise come dawn, it’s the fact that Docker is a giant that’s waiting to emerge, a volcano that’s waiting to erupt. And with that in mind, the only question you have to ask yourself is “When? When is the industry going to evolve?”.

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