The advantages of Docker

By costansin
Why Docker?

Most companies nowadays are using Docker to ship their applications into portable containers. The motivation started with the advent of microservices architectures but there is more to that. This blog post attempts to discuss the advantages of Docker.

Introduction to Docker

At a very high level, you can run any application on either a bare-metal server, a virtual machine, or a container. Using a container to deploy and run your application is gaining a lot of momentum in the IT world.

A container can be likened to a virtual machine which shares resources with its host and can therefore be very lean (in terms of size and resource utilisation). This is one of the advantages which will be discussed below. Docker is a company that allows you to run applications on a container.

Containers have existed since the early days of Linux but it was only recently, when Docker was founded, that this technology became so much popular. Additionally, in 2018, Docker started supporting Docker containers natively on Windows hypervisor. So if you have Windows 10, you can easily run Docker containers.

Advantages of using Docker

While Docker is all the rage among modern developers, system engineers and DevOps professionals, business managers are also looking into how Docker based architecture can be beneficial for the organization. Let’s look at the advantages of using Docker:

1. Cost Savings and ROI

Return on Investment and Cost Saving are important metrics for business decision makers. Docker has proved that moving towards containers can dramatically reduce infrastructure costs due to the lower resources needed as compared with Virtual Machines. Additionally, since Docker will standardize the Infrastructure (refer to next point), this means that the engineering team maintaining the system can be leaner, equating to smaller operational costs.

2. Standardize your Infrastructure

One of the biggest headaches, leading to reduced productivity and increased IT security risk, when managing complex infrastructures, is the phenomenon known as Infrastructure Drift. This happens when the configuration among the different environmental setups, including production, development and Cloud environments, will slowly drift and stop being in sync. This can happen when systems are patched during different cycles, ignored machines, incorrect change management setups, etc.

Since Docker enforces Infrastructure as a Code, it is easier for teams to monitor drift. Additionally you can always track versions of your Docker containers and roll back whenever there is a breaking change.

3. Faster Application Deployments

Given that containers are lightweight, you can spin up applications in a few seconds. This gives organizations to be really creative with their deployment lifecycles, including, adding more robust QA processes and complete automation.

4. Secure Infrastructure & Applications

Given that you have predictable and isolated Docker containers, your applications are not sharing any resources, ensuring better security. Running audit reports will also be cheaper as you can laser-focus your exercise at a finer granularity (at the container level).

Self Assessment

Still unsure if you should use Docker or stick with Virtual Machines? Take this simple self-assessment to get started:

  • Do you need to reproduce the same application across a number of different environments? For example, do you need a Database server on production, staging and development environments? Do you need clustering?
  • Are you concerned that your Virtual Machine is adding overhead to your limited hardware resources?
  • Do you need to maximise your hardware?
  • Do you struggle to keep different environments in sync, especially between you data centre and the Cloud?

If you have answered yes to any of those questions, chances are that you need to use Docker. Even if your organization does not have the skills or resources required to run a Docker infrastructure, do not give up on using Docker. Our friendly DevOps team at COSTANSIN can help you out run your Docker infrastructure!

If you want to explore our DevOps services, get in touch! We specialize in DevOps and Automation strategies – we use technologies such as Docker, Puppet, Ansible and Jenkins, so we help you improve your Software Delivery cycle.