Containerization refers to the process of creating packages that consist of software codes and dependencies such as frameworks, libraries, and configuration files required for any application to run on any environment.

What are Containers?

Containers can be thought of as a transferable component that has all the basic requirements fulfilled to support the execution of software in any environment (Operating system, system configuration, and so on). Every environment has a varied set of requirements for security, browser compatibility, RAM, storage, and others, which might not support every application to comply with the specific system configurations.

Benefits of Containerization

Containers eliminate the boundaries that may prohibit the seamless functioning of applications on different platforms. Therefore, here, we have listed some advantages of containerization that mitigate risks and offer an edge over older methodologies.

  • DevOps friendly: In an agile environment, containers are a relief, as they are system independent and thus help the developers and other stakeholders to update and upgrade features as per requirements. The team can thus worry less about the infrastructural dependencies and focus more on continuous integration and deployment.
  • Ease of deployment:Container states can easily be stored in an image that is standalone, transferrable, and lightweight and consists of every component required to run any application, be it code, runtime, libraries, and so on. This feature makes it easy for deployment in dynamic environments as the images can be stored and retrieved from remote locations or repositories.
  • Cross-platform compatibility:Containers are platform-independent and so does their compatibility with any cloud platform.
  • Scalability:The containers are flexible enough to be scaled as per a given requirement. That is, irrespective of the volume of content to be run on a platform, the container’s lightweight feature allows you to perform operations quite seamlessly.
  • Better utilization of resources:Containers are a convenient way to utilize resources and require minimum CPU and memory use
  • OS independent:As the definition says, containers are independent of any environment, and thus the package can be run within the limits of a given environment.
  • Reduced Cost:Infrastructure maintenance costs are eliminated as one platform supports the execution of multiple containers, at a given point in time.

Challenges with Containerization

Despite the range of benefits containers offer, certain limitations are often prevalent within DevOps teams. Following are few known hindrances:

  • MisconfigurationsBeing a relatively new technology, the skills and technical expertise required for the installation and configuration of containers are comparatively very restricted. Such instances could lead to security threats such as malware attacks if default service ports are left ‘public’. Therefore, prior knowledge of security policies and firewalls would be a step closer to the prevention of such vulnerabilities. Basic authentication mechanisms will also ensure putting up a barrier for unauthorized access attempts.
  • Shared infrastructure A shared infrastructure saves the efforts and efficient utilization of hardware resources, but it could also be prone to attacks. Such an attack could be a ‘side-channel attack’ based on information on the system implementation.
  • Choice of an appropriate containerIt becomes imperative to gather the right information on how to choose a container tool, which will suit the needs of the organization. The idea is to implement new technologies within the given boundaries to extract the maximum benefits.

Popular Containerization tools

Some of the very frequently used tools for containerization are listed as follows:

  • Jenkins - it is a web-enabled tool that helps in continuous integration, deployment, and testing of applications, and can further be integrated with build tools such as Ant or Maven.
  • Vagrant - DevOps team can create easy workflows with this tool and focus on automation without worrying much about development environments. The tool facilitates the creation of lightweight and portable development environments.
  • PagerDuty - the tool offers a feature for incident management and provides real-time alerts, which helps in easier and earlier detection and resolution of incidents.
  • Prometheus - the tool is an open-source service monitoring and time-series database, which helps DevOps teams to keep a track of metrics. Prometheus is quite popular among organizations using Grafana.
  • Docker - Dockers are much more efficient and easily portable, runs as an isolated process on a host operating system. With Docker containers, the developers are the owners of a container and what is within, that is, the frameworks, dependencies, and so on. It shares the kernel with other containers and has benefits like VM’s.
  • GitHub - An open-source system with version control, GitHub is a web-based hosted service for GitHub repositories. It is quite ideal for open-source projects as it is supported by very strong community-based services.
  • Ansible Towers - it offers role-based access control, secured storage for SSH credentials, and so on. A web-based console, with REST API, facilitates operating the tool seamlessly across the organization and teams. With multi-playbook workflows, teams can easily model complex workflows.
  • Kubernetes - An open-source system, which has the facility to group containers into logical units. Facilitates easier management of workloads to ensure the user’s target objective is achieved. It thus helps DevOps teams to continuously manage, deploy, and scale containerized applications.

How Containerization benefits DevOps?

Organizations in an agile environment are gradually adopting containerization as it offers great ease with which they can work together on multiple operating systems and finish goals faster, as there are no dependencies involved. Containerization does help in eliminating a lot of barriers, and the very dynamicity of containers enables build, test, and deployment activities without much complexity. The concept of containerization can thus be thought of as a bridge between infrastructure and the operating system.


The concept of containerization is about encapsulating an application with the required set of components so that it can be run on any platform. The DevOps team can thus work on continuous integration and deployment as the containerized solutions offer reliability, portability, and high-quality in a cloud environment. With containerization in place, organizations can consistently keep up with the agile nature of business and deliver high-quality and efficient results.