As we all know, virtual machines and containers are both created to make a developer’s life easier. This is especially true for containers, as their contribution to faster and more agile software development is immense.
And while many will simply claim that containers the next generation of VM, things are not as simple in practice. Whether to choose for one or another should be decided based on your needs, budget and future plans. So, first of all, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need to run as many apps as possible on a server?
- Do I have the management capabilities needed for maintaining a virtual machine?
- Is the startup time a deal maker or breaker? How crucial it is to spin a system in milliseconds?
- Does my company have multiple instances running on the same OS?
- Are we planning a CI/CD implementation?
If the answer to these questions is “yes”, your vote should go to containers.
Let’s go over a few characteristics we have underlined as those in favour of this portable environment for streamlined software development.
The flexibility of microservices
Having the option of microservices architectures, made the monolithic architectures of virtual machines seem obsolete. With microservices, the app components can be scaled and deployed on a granular level. In practice, this means that with containers, you won’t have to scale up an entire monolithic app to handle an overload detected in one of the app components. This gives you a level of flexibility, VMs can’t compete with.
Deploy more apps
Containers provide a way to virtualize an operating system, enabling for multiple workloads to run on the same instance. Since they do not pressure the kernel as much as a VM would, you can test and deploy two to three times as many apps than you would on a virtual machine. And you can do so very quickly and efficiently.
Lightweight and lightspeed
Which brings us to the third benefit. Containers are known for being lightweight and easy to shift from one environment to another. With just megabytes in size, they can start within seconds, unlike VMs which are ready in a couple of minutes. The practical nature of containers enables you to run your apps almost anywhere, from a desktop to the cloud. This is because they include all that is necessary to run a piece of software, including all dependencies od the code, even the operating system.