So what are Docker Containers?
These days Docker is gaining more and more mindshare in the cloud crowd. With the end result being that the technology continues to increase its market share at a blistering pace.
Time to take a look at this impressive little technology, one that has taken the cloud world by storm due to its overwhelming usage across the industry. This game changing product has changed the way IT teams use the various cloud platforms, and craft their applications.
Precisely speaking, Docker is an open source containerization engine that automates the packaging, shipping, and deployment of software apps in containers that will run virtually anywhere. We already took a detailed look at what containers are, and how developers are using them on AWS, via the highly popular Amazon ECS service.
But basically, Docker allows for a way to present applications in lightweight, portable, and self-sufficient containers, and helps cloud developers to accomplish the containerization process in a risk-free and accelerated fashion.
Docker is one of the many containerization technologies out there — LXC (Linux Containers), Open VZ, the FreeBSD Jail, the AIX Workload Partitions (WPARs), and Solaris Containers to name the most prominent ones. But none has seen the surge in popularity and mass adoption that is happening with Docker, with the platform being buoyed by intensive use on the Amazon Web Services cloud platform.
Since a Docker container is essentially a software bucket comprising of everything that is necessary to run software independently, using this technology, developers can quickly assemble composite, enterprise scale business critical applications.
Docker also allows users to test the code then deploy it in production as fast as possible.
The Docker solution primarily consists of two components — the Docker engine and the Docker Hub. It is the former that enables the realization of purpose specific and generic Docker containers, while the latter is a growing public repository of Docker images that can be combined in different was for producing widely usage containers.
The Docker Engine is built on top of the Linux kernel, and extensively leverages its features. That is why for quite some time, the solution was only limited to be run natively on Linux OS distributions. But the situation has now changed, and Docker for Windows is now a reality.
On the Amazon Web Services platform, however, two flavors of Docker are available, ready for use by anyone on the cloud. Users can simply run Docker containers using the Amazon EC2 Container Service, which uses the open source Community Edition (CE) variant of the technology. Or opt for the Enterprise Edition (EE), which is a subscription based version suitable for enterprise use.
AWS supports both.
You can easily launch and manage Docker containers on Amazon EC2 Container Service, or deploy and scale Docker applications on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, using either the open source or commercial solution, depending on your need and scope.
But one thing is for sure — this robust and reliant environment that allows you to generate portable, composable, stable and scalable application containers is here to stay.