Containerization

What Is Containerization?

Containerization is a method for delivering software code in a way that combines all the necessary elements into a package that can be moved easily between infrastructure types. The container includes the libraries, dependencies, and frameworks necessary to run an application. This container keeps the application independent of its surroundings and fully portable between infrastructure environments. Containerization is related to virtualization but has advantages for certain types of workloads.

Benefits of Containerization

A container is abstracted from the host operating system, with only limited access to underlying resources. This makes it more lightweight than a complete virtual machine but with strong portability and flexibility. The container can be run on different types of infrastructure, such as bare metal servers, within virtual machines, or in the cloud. Code can be transferred more easily from a local system to the cloud or between operating systems.

Because it isn’t necessary to spin up an entire virtual machine, there is less overhead, with no need to load a separate operating system for each container since the kernel is shared. The high efficiency of containerization makes it ideally suited to delivering the microservices required by a modern application. Since containers are isolated, they can be kept secure from each other because any malicious compromise or code conflict is prevented from transferring between them. The isolation is less complete than with a full virtual machine, but threats can be minimized. The rapid deployment means containers can be stopped and restarted quickly in the event of an issue.

Containerization Examples

Containerization has many uses across the lifecycle of delivering a software service.

  • An application built in a container locally will run identically when transferred to the production infrastructure during development.
  • Legacy code can be run in a container, removing its dependency on legacy hardware and enabling it to be moved easily across infrastructure types, such as from on-premises servers to the cloud.
  • Services where security is essential, such as those hosting financial transactions, can be delivered via containers, enabling faster, safer scalability as demand increases.
  • In automotive computing, the microservices provided to a connected software-defined vehicle can be delivered in a lightweight, dynamic and secure fashion using containerization, for example, via BlackBerry QNX in the cloud.

How Containerization Works

Containerization runs on top of local or cloud-based infrastructure. The latter will be deployed with a shared operating system, upon which is installed the Container Engine, for example, Docker or Google Kubernetes Engine. This orchestrates the hosted containers, each consisting of an application or applications and the requisite dependencies. This container will run reliably regardless of the computing environment acting as host because it does not rely on its resources.

A container may contain an entire application or applications, but it could also enable a modular approach to delivering a complex application. This can be broken into modules, each running in their own container, which is known as a microservices approach. While containers are generally isolated, they can be given the ability to communicate with each other via well-defined channels. Due to the lightweight nature of containers, they can be started Just-In-Time, as needed, rather than left running, where they will continue to consume resources.

Containerization Vs. Virtualization

Containerization is often mentioned in the same context as virtualization. They are very closely related but take slightly different approaches. Virtualization simulates the entire physical hardware, including CPU cores, memory, storage, and even GPU acceleration, within which a guest operating system is run. Containerization doesn’t simulate the hardware, just the operating system. So multiple applications can share the same operating system kernel. In practice, roles can be similar between a container and a full virtual machine. While the latter provides greater resource isolation, containerization’s lightweight approach delivers advantages where rapid dynamic deployment is beneficial. of an application or applications and the requisite dependencies. This container will run reliably regardless of the computing environment acting as host because it does not rely on its resources.

A container may contain an entire application or applications, but it could also enable a modular approach to delivering a complex application. This can be broken into modules, each running in their own container, which is known as a microservices approach. While containers are generally isolated, they can be given the ability to communicate with each other via well-defined channels. Due to the lightweight nature of containers, they can be started Just-In-Time, as needed, rather than left running, where they will continue to consume resources.

The QNX® Hypervisor is a real-time, Type 1 hypervisor that offers virtualization technology and enables the secure separation of multiple operating environments on a single SoC. QNX Hypervisor brings containers to connected automobiles as a way to segment non-safety applications from critical systems.

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