Exploring the Benefits of Containerization

As technology developments expand and become more complex, the software we rely on for our website redesigns and customer communications also increases in complexity. That’s exacerbated by the shift to developing cloud-native applications built using microservices and running on platforms like Kubernetes. It can make it tricky for developers to navigate when making changes, installing new features or testing applications, as the infrastructure behind programs is made of many different parts. Learning to manage and organize these can be tricky for developers. 

As part of the effort to simplify application development processes, many developers are leveraging containerization. It is one way of grouping the infrastructure of applications, making it easier for developers to interact with and manage. It’s not a new method and has been evolving for several years now, allowing developers to become more confident in using it. Containerization also has many benefits for developers.  

What is Containerization?

When you create an application, there are configuration files, dependencies, and other computing resources needed to make it run. Containerization moves these to a portable, self-contained computing environment called a container. A container strategy does not rely on virtualized operating systems using resources to make the application run – instead, they do this independently with any host operating system or computing environment. 

Multiple containers can be used simultaneously with your operating system, depending on the resources your system has available. It can store data, build microservices, or test and deploy on a larger scale with web applications. As containers don’t depend on a specific computing environment, if you need to swap, add to, or remove containers, you can do this without managing each file and resource needed for the application individually. 

Image sourced from Datacenterknowledge.com

Protecting data on your computer requires the encryption of sensitive files and folders with an additional layer by using either file encryption or container encryption. Container encryption is the better choice of the two as it involves creating a secure virtual drive that is capable of storing many encrypted files at once. Container encryption removes security risks since you only need to remember one password to access each container.

7 Benefits of Containerization

The more you work with containerized applications, the more benefits you’ll notice in how they work and organize your application resources. Your experience with containers will somewhat depend on the application you’ve created and its functions—how a softphone works using containers will differ from those used for a calendar application. However, these are seven of the most common and helpful benefits provided when containerizing any application.   

Use Resources Effectively

As containers include all the resources they need to function, they don’t drain resources from the server or other containers being used. This allows the high performance of each container in its functions, even when using the same server for multiple containers. Should one container crash, this won’t affect the functionality of your other containers on the same server. Similarly, the server will continue to work, enabling developers to continue using it.

Containers also allow quicker start-up times with your applications and running on your systems as all the resources needed are easily accessible. As they use the operating system of the machine they are installed on, they don’t need their own to function, making them smaller in capacity. It again helps to improve the speed of your application, helping you to use its functions more efficiently and with fewer delays or lags. 

Access From Anywhere

A key feature of containers is their portability, meaning they don’t rely on an operating system or specific server to function. Instead, they integrate with whatever server you choose, taking their code and resources along. It means once you’ve built your container, you can use it anywhere without having to adapt or rewrite parts to make it function. Regardless of the computing environment, the container will still work as the developer intended.

Accessing containers from any server or computing system simplifies sharing and distributing them, eliminating the need for changes depending on your operating system. This also makes containers for applications like contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions easier to use as performing the functions is always the same across platforms. Instead of requiring a specific device or server to perform functions, you use them anywhere with any available system.  

Makes Changes Quicker

As you continue developing an application, using containers makes it quicker to distribute changes and new features across multiple servers and computing environments. It is particularly important with bug fixes and upgrades, as this prevents the damage that an issue can have on users by resolving it efficiently. Containers allow developers to deploy these changes on each server without having to rewrite the code or make adjustments.

Also, having all the resources for an application in one place makes them more accessible for developers to experiment with and create new features using app definition and build tools. As the files and coding needed are within the container, developers don’t have to search for the appropriate resources or repeat their changes for use on multiple servers. Once the application feature is written using the container, this can be tested and shared without delay. 

Easily Scalable

Depending on your application, you may need space to grow and further develop features. As each container is independent, these can easily be scaled up as your application requires. It could be through adding additional containers to your server for your CRM migration (services), increasing the functions available to you and your customers. Alternatively, you can move storage application containers to different servers to create more space.

Image sourced from Researchgate.net

Similarly, if you no longer need a function or resource, you can remove an irrelevant container to replace it with another more accommodative option. Using container orchestrators can help with this by managing the containers you’re running, keeping only those you’re using for the application open to improve speed and functionality. Also, having multiple isolated containers for the same application can make it more available for users by improving the uptime.

Better Security

In the same way that one container on your server experiencing issues doesn’t affect other containers, so too does the security of one container not compromise the security of the other containers. As each container is isolated from the others and can be removed from the server or use a cloud-first strategy, it’s easier to manage security breaches and the effect that they have. It reassures your application users that their data and app usage is safe.

Likewise, containerization can act preventatively to stop security issues. Part of the features the developer can create with the containers can include firewalls and malware protection. These prevent malicious software or cyber attacks from damaging your resources and protect your servers. Even if your server experiences security issues, the containers interact little with it and won’t necessarily be impacted as they rely on their resources to maintain their application.

Doesn’t Rely on a Server

Traditional servers can be expensive and difficult to maintain with complex infrastructures and configurations. These can require downtime periods to allow for upgrades, costing you both financially and in user satisfaction. It isn’t ideal for your application or business, as you want to have the best value for money. Instead, using containers means that your application doesn’t have to use servers, allowing you to look for cheaper options.

Image sourced from Quora.com

Servers can also be susceptible to hacking and require manual upgrades. As containers don’t rely on servers to function, they can use other available options to run your application. This gives you the choice of VoIP or analog and other solutions for your containers, such as cloud options or virtual machines. These can help set up automatic upgrades, reduce the risk of hacking, and make your application more reliable and consistent for users.

Creates Backups

We know the importance of saving your work as you go along and the same applies to your applications. Creating data backups and recovery strategies can limit the damage caused by hackers, keeping necessary resources secure and available for developers to rebuild with. Using containers can make storing and updating backups easy, so they’re ready to be used. It also allows your developers to experiment and test new functions using the backups.

There are many backup options available, including the ability to duplicate your containers or use a versioning system. By making multiple versions of the same container, you can replace one container with another should it be tampered with. Alternatively, a versioning system stores the configuration of your application. With containers, you can take different backup approaches for each component according to what works best for storing your application information. 

Have You Containerized Your Application?

If your application infrastructure is getting out of hand, introducing containerization may be the solution. As an easy way to organize the components of your application, making it more portable and independent, containers can transform the upkeep of your app. Containerization benefits the developers who work directly with the resources and the users applying the functions for porting a phone number or organizing social media strategies.

Image sourced from Redhat.com

Containerization is a process and will take time and effort to transfer all the appropriate resources into containers for your applications. However, the results can reduce the time and effort needed to manage your application. Likewise, by using containers on new projects too, you can avoid organizational issues with the resources your applications require to perform. Start using containers for your applications and experience the benefits for yourself. 

Jenna Bunnell

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details and helpful resources like this meeting notes guide from Dialpad for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna has written for other domains such as PingPlotter and TRACX. Check out her LinkedIn profile.

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