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Container instances are CPU and memory-based virtual machines. You can either launch them on-demand or configure them to run independently of their host machine. They provide the same benefits as traditional VM instances but without requiring you to log in to access them at all times.
Predictably, the availability of containers is growing more expansive every day. Today, you can find numerous public containers that support various platforms and languages, with thousands more being rolled out by their respective vendors almost daily. Most of these containers allow developers to test them out, and their prices are pretty reasonable.
Containers vs. Virtual Machines
Containers and virtual machines (VMs) share some similarities. Both allow you to run an instance of another operating system without isolating it from your host system. However, a few key differences make containers a more efficient, secure, and cost-effective option.
Containers give you the ability to run on a predefined set of resources. They do this by allowing you to configure CPU and memory limits before creating the container instance. It means you no longer need to over-provision your VMs to leave room for growth or tasks that may not be required. It can be critical in a large enterprise where space for growth is limited.
The main benefit of containers is that they are not tied to your host machine. When you create a container instance, all of the resources are allocated to that container, allowing you to launch it on demand without logging in every time you need it. The container instance frees up resources on your host system so applications can run faster and more efficiently.
Containers Vs. Micro-services
Micro-services are a hot new trend in the IT industry. A micro-service is a small, modular component of a more extensive software system. It is typically responsible for performing a single task and has been proven to help organizations improve their efficiency and lower costs when implemented correctly.
Containers offer similar benefits to micro-services when compared with standard VMs. However, they achieve these benefits in a more dynamic way that helps organizations adopt new technologies faster than they would see with VMs. This is because they allow teams to quickly scale up and down based on demand, all without affecting the performance of other essential applications.
A few companies, like Dell and Microsoft, use containers as an alternative to VMs. Containers allow them to run more applications without over-provisioning their servers. They can then use their excess resources for other projects that require more computing power than they currently have available.
Why Use Containers?
There are many great reasons why you should use containers today. If you are already using VMs, containers can be a great addition to your virtual infrastructure. Containers provide an easy way to test new application versions before rolling out new versions on your entire host machine. It allows you to avoid committing whole servers or applications that you will need down the line. Containers also allow you to track resources on demand. This is an easy way to keep tabs on how resources are being used, allowing you to manage your resources on a per-container basis more effectively.
The startup time on containers is swift. Compared to VMs, they take up very little space and provide excellent performance without any of the overhead associated with running an entirely new operating system. You can launch new secure Azure container instances in about 10 seconds, compared to about 9 minutes for a VM. This reason makes containers an excellent solution for developers who need to iterate on new application versions rapidly. In the past, if you made even the slightest change to an application, you would have to rebuild the VM before you could test it again thoroughly. Now, if something breaks or does not work as expected, you can delete that container and try again.
You can also use containers to simulate different application environments. If you are testing out your application in an environment that you do not control, you may need to build your isolated network. It isn’t easy if you cannot control the configurations of the machines or services available to you. Instead, using containers allows you to create this setup within one container instance, making it easy to duplicate on demand. You can replicate different network setups to see how they affect your application without affecting the rest of your infrastructure.
Containers are easy to use, but they can still be tricky to implement. The steps involved in using your containers change depending on your specific needs. For example, if you need to create a container-based environment, you must map out the process in advance to ensure that it works properly. You will need to clearly define and configure your containers and how they fit into your network. Container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes and Swarm make this process easy if you need to manage many containers.
Container Instances: A Great Option for Enterprise Development
Azure container instances can provide numerous benefits to your company, even if they are just used to test new applications. As you begin to use containers in your production environment, consider the various ways that this technology can help you. Containers are a popular trend in the IT industry, and they are often the first option for companies who need to manage their infrastructure more efficiently.
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