What Are Docker Containers and Why Do They Matter?

Featured image courtesy of BMC Software, Inc.

Have you ever heard of a Docker container?

Do you know what it is?

A Docker container is a standardized unit of software-development platforms that packages applications in specific ‘containers,’ which then allows them to be portable on any system running Linux. They are created from a read-only template, and they contain everything that the software application needs to run.

Now, you may be wondering why docker containers matter and how they affect you. Take a look at some docker container basics and see why they matter.

What Are Some Common Features of Docker Containers?

To explain the common features of Docker containers, let’s use an example.

Amazon provides a popular container service known as the Amazon ECS (Elastic Container Service). Essentially, it’s a cloud-computing service that manages containers and lets developers build, run, test, manage, deploy, and stop applications that are running on groups of servers—otherwise known as clusters.

Using task definitions, developers can direct docker-container commands to different clusters based on resource needs, availability requirements, and isolation policies.

Most importantly, these features are pulled from and stored in container registries— which are centralized within or outside of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.

This is important because it eliminates the need to operate your own cluster and configuration management systems, and you don’t have to be concerned about scaling your own management infrastructure. Also, you can use them to create a consistent deployment as well as sophisticated application architectures.

How Do Docker Containers Work?

In order to prepare an application to run on Amazon ECS, you first create a task definition.

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Here, a text file describing one or more containers forms the application. You can consider this as a “blueprint” which specifies the number and variety of tasks that will run on the cluster, which is a logical grouping of resources that you manage.

In addition to task definitions, an Agent runs on every infrastructure resource that is within an Amazon ECS cluster. The Agent sends information about resource utilization and current tasks.

How Do I Get Started with Amazon ECS?

To help simplify the installation process, an AWS Management Console for Amazon ECS is available.

This tool provides a get-started wizard that takes you step-by-step through a task definition for a web server. It helps you configure the service and launch the first cluster.

As an alternative, you can install the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI).

Installing Docker

Docker installation guides are available, as well. They provide you with all the information you’ll need.

Note that Docker is available on different operating systems—including most Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and on Windows and Mac OSX.

Also, you don’t need a local development system to use Docker if you are already using Amazon EC2.

The Bottom Line – What Benefits Do They Offer?

Now that we’ve examined how Docker containers function, let’s look at some of the benefits they offer for both businesses and developers.

Within our tech-driven world, applications and software advance at a breakneck pace.

For businesses and software developers to stay competitive in the tech industry, they have to move as quickly as possible.

Amazon ECS and Docker containers give developers a competitive edge in managing and releasing new applications—and that edge matters a great deal.

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Now that you know about Docker containers, why not check out and learn more about other computing platforms and topics?

Want to Know More? Check Out These Useful Resources:

What is Amazon Elastic Container Service? | AWS

Docker Basics for Amazon | AWS

Integrations and Plugins for Cloud Computing | AppOptics

How to Introduce Docker Containers in Enterprise | BMC Software, Inc.

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Layla Ashraf is a writer who loves learning, reading, and traveling. She speaks five languages and is a college student.

 

 

 

 

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Layla Ashraf is a writer who loves learning, reading, and traveling. She speaks five languages and is a college student.
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