Feb 10, 2021 03:16 PM EST
Cloud Containers: Are They Needed for Software Development?
Cloud containers are not the type of containers you'd see on a ship or use to store leftovers. With that said, cloud containers have the same general function. It is a software unit that is used to package up - aka contain - an application's code plus its dependencies. This then supplies an isolated environment where the application can run.
Even though containers started life all the back in 1979, they have only just recently gained traction in the tech world. In 2013, the launch of Docker saw container management come complete with a full ecosystem. Since then, the popularity of containers has grown rapidly, with hundreds of management-related tools having been developed and more businesses adopting container-based apps.
However, are cloud containers actually needed during the software development lifecycle? The following advantages will show why the answer to that question is a resounding, Yes.
Simply put, containers are built for speed. They're lightweight and ensure applications run quicker when in use. This is done due to the container image not having to deal with its own operating system and CPU footprint.
Along with using fewer server resources, as a result, it also ensures that apps can be started pretty much instantly.
If you're familiar with cloud containers, you may have come across a few myths that question the security of this software. Yet there's no questioning that containers are especially secure to use - if used correctly, of course.
When it comes to Container Security and its effectiveness, here are a few points in its favor:
They supply apps with enhanced isolation
Safer and faster mechanisms for security-based patches
Attacks can be mitigated with policies used to lockdown apps
Reputable container platforms feature built-in security modules and the opportunity to add more
Works seamlessly with DevOps
If you're using DevOps during your current software development efforts, good news: this process blends seamlessly with containers. In fact, containers are fully supportive of feedback, flow, and continual learning - also known as the three main pillars that prop up DevOps practice.
Extending on the previous point, the portability of containers is also beneficial for the DevOps build process. This is because containers can be shifted across platforms with ease. Only a minimal amount of modification is required to shift a container from one platform to another.
As a result of this flexibility, containers are able to operate pretty much anywhere you desire to run your software. This can be everything from a Linux system to the public cloud.
One approach that can be taken with containers is to split apps into modules, with each of these modules being divided and placed into their own container. This is regarded as the microservices method. Rather than putting the full application into a single container, splitting them up helps developers with scalability.
How? Well, if any changes need to be made to an application, it is much easier to alter a single module rather than diving into the complete app.
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