In today’s competitive landscape, companies are in a race to build more agile cloud native systems that support dynamic deployment models for their applications and services. Containers provide an ideal building block for this new model because they are lightweight, portable across platforms, and easily scalable. This guide gives you insight into the world of containers and discusses the many features and benefits of the Kubernetes container orchestration platform.
What Are Containers?
A container is a way of packaging software, such as an application or service, so it can be stored or run on a computer. Containers use operating system virtualization similar to hardware virtualization. However, containers rely on the kernel features of the host operating system rather than requiring hardware support.
Containers allow developers to package their applications in a way that makes them portable across different environments. For example, a Java developer may develop their application on CentOS 6 (an older OS), while the software runs on CentOS 7 (a newer OS). The same developer could also use containers to ship their application to a different environment.
One way to think about a container is as a portable, self-sufficient, executable package that includes all the necessary dependencies, including code, runtime, system tools, and libraries. They can be moved from one computing environment to another (such as from development to test or production systems) without concern for conflicts with other software versions or incompatibilities with shared libraries.
Containers vs. VMs
Virtual machines (VMs) are a technology that enables software, such as an operating system, to run on top of another operating system. Virtual machines are also known as guest operating systems. VMs are software emulations of computers that allow multiple operating systems to run on the same physical machine.
In contrast to containers, VMs have independent OS kernels, file systems, and network interfaces. The VM’s files reside on a virtual hard drive stored in a file on the physical machine’s hard drive. They also have their own IP addresses, making them independent from the host machines.
Containers, on the other hand, share the host machine’s kernel. They also share the host machine’s network interface and file system. The main difference between containers and VMs is that containers are a way to package an application with its dependencies into a standardized unit for software development, deployment, and delivery. Containers have their own file system, memory space, and isolated networking environment that only allows communication from within the container.