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What Are Containers?

A container is a unit of lightweight, executable software that packages application code and its dependencies in a standardized way. This packaging allows a container to be moved between computing environments without affecting performance.

How do container platforms work?

Container platforms consist of software that packages apps and services into self-contained applications that improve portability and allow DevOps teams to launch, update, or scale individual components quickly and reliably. The concept of containerization is essential to the microservices architectural approach. Container orchestration entails the management of the lifecycles of containers, especially in large dynamic environments.

  • Kubernetes

    The popularity of microservices and containerized applications led to the rise of container orchestration tools to manage containers in production environments. Kubernetes, an open source project introduced by Google, helps maintain stability with load balancing, autoscaling, rebooting, deploying a set number of instances and deployments without downtime.
  • More details on Kubernetes monitoring >

  • Docker

    Docker pioneered modern container technology and is a popular choice for container management. Docker container images include code, runtime, system libraries, system tools, and settings, and can be executed on many platforms, including Windows, Linux, data center, cloud, serverless, and more. Docker still offers Swarm, its own container orchestration tool.
  • More details on Docker monitoring >

What are container orchestration platforms?

The following platforms allow someone else to manage Kubernetes for you.

Amazon Elastic Container Service

Amazon EKS abstracts the management, scaling, and security of your Kubernetes cluster so you can focus on your applications and microservices.

Azure Kubernetes Service

AKS is Azure's Kubernetes management solution. AKS lets you secure your clusters with Azure's Active Directory and deploy applications across Azure's data center offerings worldwide.

Google Cloud Kubernetes Engine

Google has a lot of experience running Kubernetes-based containers in production. Kubernetes Engine runs on Google's network and uses routine health checks in high-availability configurations. It is also capable of autoscaling to meet the demand on your applications.

More details on container orchestration >

Containers versus virtual machines

An agile approach to virtualization, containers let teams run emulated machines and operating systems on one computer. Hypervisors, which are software layers, keep them separate. Containers package code, dependencies, and operating systems in a small piece of software, eliminating the need for a virtual machine.

Use cases

Containers are a critical element of cloud environments, particularly in the following capacities:

The agile, lightweight nature of containers makes them ideal for microservice architecture, which is based on loosely coupled services that function independently while working together.

Containers are a valuable DevOps tool, since they facilitate microservices and allow for more agility, collaboration, and scalability.

Integrate Docker monitoring as part of your CI/CD pipeline to facilitate continuous delivery efforts in highly distributed environments.

The stability and portability of containers reduces the risks associated with modernizing applications via cloud migration.