What is Docker?

Since its release in 2012, Docker has turned out to be one of the fastest-growing technologies in web development and DevOps. Like any new technology, however, it is still under development, has some limitations, and isn’t right for each undertaking. This guide gives an overview of the upsides and downsides of Docker so that you can choose whether it would be a good addition to your project.

Docker reformed the application container technology with its incredible ecosystem. The Docker ecosystem comprising of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight run-time and packaging tool for building containerized apps, and Docker Hub, a cloud service for sharing applications and automating workflows. Docker Hub is a registry system in the Docker ecosystem for storing Docker images, from where you transfer or download images. You will be created containers from an image.

Benefits of Docker:

  • Reproducibility
    • Similar to a Java application, which will run precisely the same on any device capable of running a Java Virtual Machine, a Docker container is destined to be indistinguishable on any system that can run Docker. The exact details of a container are put away in a Dockerfile. By appropriating this file among team members, an organization can ensure that all images worked from the same Dockerfile will function identically. Furthermore, having an environment that is consistent also, all around recorded makes it easier to monitor your application and identify problems.
  • Security
    • With essential caveats, separating the distinctive components of a large application into various containers can have security benefits: if one container has endangered the others remain unaffected.
  • Environment Management
    • Docker makes it simple to keep up various versions of, for example, a website utilizing nginx. You can have a different container for development, testing, and production and effectively deploy to each one.
  • Docker Hub
    • For normal or simple use cases, for example, a LAMP stack, the capacity to save images and push them to Docker Hub implies that there are already some well-maintained images available. Having the capacity to quickly pull a premade image or work from an officially-maintained Dockerfile can make this sort of setup process extremely quick and simple.

When to Use Docker

If your application fits into at least one of the following categories, Docker might be a solid match:

  • Learning new technologies
    • To begin with a new tool without spending time on installation and setup, Docker offers an isolated and disposable environment. Numerous projects maintain Docker images with their applications previously installed and configured. For instance, if you need to look at a distributed tracing system like Zipkin, you can have a working setup on localhost essentially by running: sudo docker run -d -p 9411:9411 openzipkin/zipkin
  • App isolation
    • If you need to run various applications on one server, keeping the parts of every application in separate containers will prevent issues with dependency management.
  • Developer teams
    • If you have developers working with various setups, Docker gives a helpful method to have local development environments that intently match the production environment, without expecting to ssh into a remote box.

When Not to Use Docker

There are times when Docker isn’t the best solution for you. Here are a few samples:

  • Your app is complicated and you are not/don’t have a sysadmin. For extensive or complicated applications, utilizing a pre-made Dockerfile or pulling a current image will not be adequate. Building, managing, and editing communication between various containers on different servers is a time-consuming task.
  • You don’t need to redesign hassles. Docker is another technology that is still under development. To get new highlights you will probably need to update versions frequently, and in reverse similarity with previous versions isn’t guaranteed.
  • Security is basic to your application. As mentioned above, keeping the different components of an application in discrete containers gives some security benefits, since a trade-off in one container can’t easily affect the rest of your system. Be that as it may, Docker’s containerization approach raises its own security challenges, particularly for more complicated applications.
  • Docker containers on separate servers can be joined to form a cluster with Docker Swarm. In any case, Docker does not replace provisioning or automation tools, for example, SaltStack, Ansible, and Chef. In addition, Docker has as of late declared support for Kubernetes, indicating that Docker Swarm may not be sufficient as an independent cluster manager.

Conclusion:

Docker has turned into an incredibly well-known approach to save, configure, and share server environments utilizing containers. Along these lines, installing an application or even a large stack can frequently be as basic as running docker pull or docker run. Separating application functions into various containers additionally offers advantages in security, and what’s more dependency management.

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Arun is one of the senior software developers at ti Technologies.