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Containerization: Enabling Continuous Delivery in DevOps

Containerization: Enabling Continuous Delivery in DevOps

As competition increases and technology improves, business processes have become faster and more efficient. This, along with a variety of options for consumers, has translated to a higher customer expectation. In turn, there is a greater need for organizations to be more agile, innovative, and quick to adopt new technologies.

With increased access to digital devices, the demand for software has also increased. Along with creating effective software and applications, developers must also find a way to speed up their process. One of the biggest challenges with the DevOps process is that there are too many moving parts. This not only delays the development process but also makes it tedious.

The more tools you have in your DevOps pipeline, the longer it will take you to deliver tools to your clients. And, they do not necessarily translate to better results in the final program. Some of the challenges you face with such an approach include:

  • You will require new tools to add new components
  • To make changes in the application, you will also need to change how it’s build
  • Many build, test, and deploy tools are not reliable

Fortunately, developers can turn to containerization to speed up processes while improving the quality of output.

What Is a Container?

There are a lot of processes within the development pipeline. Containers are standard units of software that facilitate such processes in your pipeline. Containers contain all the dependencies we need to build applications such as code, system tools, runtime, settings, and systems libraries.

Regardless of the environment, the pipeline for your software will be the same when using containers. More importantly, containers offer you consistency in your continuous delivery and continuous deployment process. This allows you to run one container in the development and staging environments without issues arising.

What Do Containers Bring to DevOps?

With numerous processes within the pipeline, there are often many delays during development. Containers help address this issue by offering a controlled environment that facilitates continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines. With this, you will be confident that the software deployed is the same as the one tested and verified.

Another interesting feature of containers is that developers do not need to deploy an application across the enterprise system. They allow you to run a production code on your device and replicate the entire development environment.

By enhancing application life-cycle management, containers are becoming more popular among large and small enterprises. Organizations also find it appealing as certain container implementations conform to open source principles. As such, you will not be forced to rely on one vendor.

With containers, you will be able to:

  • Modernize legacy applications
  • Use cloud services with your data center
  • Develop new cloud-native applications

What Are the Benefits of Containerization?

Though there has been significant controversy revolving around containers, their benefits are unquestionable.

1. Consistency

Arguably the most significant benefit for developers is the consistency that containerization offers. By using containers, you will be able to create consistent environments that are separate. Each environment can contain all the necessary dependencies and is easily re-creatable.

With this approach, the likelihood of the application running the same way in different production environments increases significantly. Such environments include the developer machine and the host operating system. Such consistency reduces the amount of time spent debugging and addressing issues with personal infrastructure. In turn, you get more time to work on improvements.

2. Portability

If you have ever attempted to move applications from one server to another, you know all too well the issues that can arise. The application may have trouble integrating with the new operating system. Even if it deploys, other inconsistencies may arise, thus affecting performance.

By design, containers enable applications to run smoothly in different environments. This makes them very portable as changing environments will not bring about any issues.

3. Security and Stability

In one way or another, digital solutions rely on data to offer businesses value. Being one of the most valuable and at-risk resources in the digital era, data should be protected.

Though containers are separate, they do not run in complete isolation. They use service meshes, API calls, and other methods of communication to coordinate. However, the most crucial resources are isolated. These include storage, memory, network resources between each container, and access to the CPU.

This helps improve security as containers are separate and only have critical information that cannot be shared. Therefore, if a container is breached, the damage will be limited, and addressing it will be easier.

4. Containerization increases scalability

Over time, it may be necessary to scale or adjust certain functions of an application. This often means other tools are needed and adjusting the entire application. Containerization, along with a service-oriented application design, make scaling and such adjustments much easier. Instead, you can adjust the specific functions that need to be scaled.

For example, you do not need to scale the front end servers if you only want to scale your application’s database component.

Additionally, containerization speeds up the scaling process as you can add and remove specific resources instantly. You also do not need to set up additional servers if you have many containers.

5. Enhanced Collaboration

Developers often get in each other’s way when adjusting applications, thus making teams a bit disjointed. Containerized apps allow multiple teams to work on varying components of the application without interfering with each other’s work.

Different teams will also be able to work collaboratively as the infrastructure that the app runs on can be defined as a code.

6. Enhanced Productivity

With container-based apps, the uncertainty involved in development is eliminated. There is a feedback loop that allows developers to make and track adjustments. With such efficiency, the development process will be much shorter. It also takes a lot less time to install containerized applications. This is because they reduce dependency errors and simplify the installation process.

Is Containerization Worth It?

The demand for applications is fast rising. However, developers are faced with many challenges that make the process cumbersome and unnecessarily long. Containerization allows the developer to separate components, which allows more teams to work collaboratively. This not only speeds up the development process but also makes it more effective.

 

Kris Flores

About the author

Kris Flores

Kris is a developer advocate & freelance content creator with a passion for elegant code and clean, scalable, secure cloud infrastructure.
He works with companies like Accurics to provide content for other coding lovers and active practitioners alike.

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