What Are Containers? | Tintri

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What are Containers?

For scalable, agile and granular storage on one operating system (OS), containers are the latest best-in-class option. They are highly portable, offering isolation by packaging software, applications, libraries, binaries and dependencies in a compact packet. They support software evolution from development, testing, deployment and production from developer desktop to continuous and production servers. And they use far fewer resources and offer superior ease-of-use for developers.

Why would I need containers? 

Contrary to popular belief, containers aren’t here to take the place of virtual machines (VMs). Rather, they exist as a way to compartmentalize and better manage software while making applications run reliably—no matter which computing environment they are deployed on. For IT professionals in development and other data and application scientists, containers offer a newfound ease of use. Allowing everything from ideation and beta testing to total deployment, they mean the end of musical chairs between environments.

Can I use virtualization and containers at the same time?

Absolutely, and in many instances, it’s encouraged. Containers can offer tremendous agility, speed, scalability and universal adaptability. But when you pair them with virtualization, you’re getting much better overall security. While it’s true that VMs must each use separate OS, this can keep them safer from attacks than containers, which share a single OS. When the OS of containers is hacked, all containers are vulnerable. Use containers for development and deployment of software, use VMs for data housing and enhanced security. The marriage of these two technologies will make your enterprise run sleeker and safer while offering the space you need to store gang loads of information.

What about memory and boot times? 

Containers offer incredible memory flexibility for individual instances. Admins can choose exactly how much disk space and memory they want containers to use for each instance, and that makes running multiple applications within containers easy to manage to the specifications that work for you.  Boot times are lightning fast because each container is running only a single process within the OS that manages an application in its totality. This makes scaling apps up and down quick and easy too.

What does container process isolation do?

When you want to run more than one application in the same instance, process isolation makes it possible to place various apps and their dependencies into independent containers. Now that they’re isolated in different containers, the applications you wish to run concomitantly won’t step on each other’s toes. That means simultaneously using differing versions of libraries and availability of dependencies for all the apps you have open. Process isolation is one more way containers make developing and testing new applications and their dependencies more efficient than ever before.

Within a container, what the heck is a microservice?

Within containers, microservices are a way that applications are broken down to allow them to talk to each other. What’s more, offering up various parts of applications in bite sizes means that disparate groups of developers can work on different parts of apps independently and without getting in the way of each other. Microservices offer up bite sizes of the elephant to make them easily accessible. This leads to less time in development.

Do they offer any kind of trackable history?

Yep, they sure so. Developers already using containers have come to love their ability to maintain a history of various versions of apps that have been worked on within containers. Tracking applications in development is simple, which allows users to see every version of an app they’re working on. The evolution of development is preserved within the container, including a history of library, code and dependencies iterations.

Tintri understands the advantages of running containers alongside VMs

Tintri knows containers are lighter, faster and easier to maintain than VMs, but we entirely support ventures that wish to utilize them within VMs for their infrastructures. We help you manage them and VMs in unison with Tintri vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC), a part of our VMware vSphere 6.5. Managing containers inside VMs with VIC means you won’t have to rearchitect your infrastructure. That means quicker startup time when you decide to pair up containers and VMs for your enterprise.