DevOps

Top 10 benefits of containerisation and how it solves key DevOps challenges

Before diving into the benefits of containerisation and how we can use it to solve devops challenges, the article will briefly explore containers and containerisation in DevOps.

Top 10 benefits of containerisation and how it solves key DevOps challenges

What are containers, and what is meant by containerisation in DevOps?

Containers 

Containers are small software pieces that run in isolated user contexts on a traditional operating system in a virtualised environment or on a conventional server. They bundle the application, it's dependencies, and it's configuration in a single image. The standard method for cloud-native development is containers. They offer minimally configured OS-level virtualisation to run cloud-native applications.

However, choosing to use the containers or not could be challenging. Organisations must take into account several containerisation factors before making a decision, including the following:

  • Configuration management
  • Security
  • Data management
  • Productivity
  • Scalability
  • Change management

Containerisation

As an alternative to or complements virtualisation, containerisation has emerged as a significant trend in software development. It entails packaging or encapsulating the software code and it's dependencies to function consistently and uniformly across all infrastructures. This technology is growing fast, offering quantifiable advantages to operations and development teams and the whole software infrastructure.

Containerisation enables more secure and faster application development and deployment.

Using conventional techniques, code is created in a particular computing environment, and when it is transferred to another location, it frequently has faults and errors. For instance, a programmer moves code to a virtual machine (VM) or from the Linux operating system to the Windows one from a desktop computer.

By combining the application code with the relevant dependencies, libraries, and configuration files needed for it to function, containerisation solves this issue. The host operating system is abstracted away from this single software package, or "container," making it stand alone and portable—able to operate faultlessly across cloud or any platform or cloud.

Since we have briefly discussed containers and containerisation, we will discuss why containers are essential.

Why are containers essential?

Similar to the earlier days of cloud computing, containers are the cornerstone of a private cloud and quickly change the game for many enterprises. The platform of choice is the private cloud, which provides the necessary protection and control while enabling the use of numerous cloud services. This is typical when businesses use the cloud to run their current and new application workloads.

Three essential use cases that highlight what businesses need to execute their applications on the cloud are made possible by containers:

  • To use cloud services and open a data centre.
  • To develop innovative enterprise cloud-native applications.
  • Update the current applications.

Now that we have discussed the importance of containers, we will explore the benefits of containerisation in DevOps.

10 Benefits of containerisation to solve critical challenges in DevOps

The 10 key benefits of containerisation in DevOps are the following:

  • Containerisation and DevOps optimisation
  • Container portability for cross-platform development
  • Using Network as Code (NaC) to synchronise NetOps with SecOps
  • Faster Code Delivery
  • Automation at scale in the cloud to overcome testing constraints
  • Increased workflow flexibility as a result of containerised workloads
  • Implementing updates quickly with containers
  • Faster App Startup
  • Advantage of architecture as code (AaC)
  • Improvements in configuration management

We will now explore each benefit in depth to understand all the benefits of containerisation.

Containerisation and DevOps optimisation

An organisation’s team’s maturity may impact software development lifecycle (SDLC) product delivery. It significantly affects the uptake of DevOps as well. It is difficult to achieve continuous delivery without a developed SDLC.

With the introduction of DevOps, software delivery becomes more effective with smaller increments. It becomes a great formula with incremental iterations when Agile is added to the mix. DevOps' agility, however, might be difficult for teams with lesser SDLC maturity to handle.

Containerisation makes it possible to support Agile and helps the business get over its SDLC's lack of maturity. We have considerable freedom and don't need to load too many containers.

Container portability for cross-platform development

Businesses enjoy creating apps for operating systems like iOS and Android. Maintaining native compatibility while responding fast to platform changes is difficult, though. Security patches that guard against malicious code and new vulnerabilities are one of the frequent improvements.

It takes effort and time to modify our program to account for these changes. For instance, the Android device security patch level's second installment was released in April. It contained security fixes for at least 30 flaws in the system, kernel, and System of Chips (SoCs), including Mediatek.

A faster pace of change is unavoidable if our application is available on both the iOS and Android platforms. Similar to this, our program may see several native platform modifications.

Portability frees our program from being dependent on the host operating system. We will be able to create and deploy programs using a variety of OS environments. Another critical player in the multi-cloud strategy is portability. Switching between computer environments won't be too difficult if our programs are portable.

Businesses that use a multi-cloud approach to develop cross-platform apps can benefit from containerisation.

Using Network as Code (NaC) to synchronise NetOps with SecOps

Network and security operations share network parameter tracking, data access analysis, monitoring, and other related tasks. However, it is inefficient for many firms to have SecOps and NetOps teams that operate incoherently.

For instance, NetOps must examine any changes made by SecOps for security reasons to specific network parameters. Unfortunately, the length of this review procedure causes operational lags and security risks. Using the Network as Code (NaC) methodology, containerisation enables enterprises to synchronise their NetOps and SecOps.

It is a technique for incorporating the IaC idea into everything network-related!

NaC operates on three fundamental tenets:

  • Network configuration is kept in source control.
  • Configuration deployment via APIs
  • As the sole source of truth, source control

Faster Code Delivery

In general, it takes longer to incorporate enhancements the larger the program. This problem is resolved by compartmentalising our application with containerisation. Microservices enable us to break even the most extensive program into separate components.

By dividing larger apps into containers, microservices deconstruct smaller ones. The separation makes it much simpler for developers to deploy new code and make modifications. The application can be modified individually without changing it overall.

Automation at scale in the cloud to overcome testing constraints

Substantial application testing is required for platform-agnostic UX consistency. Testing apps across different contexts, platforms, and devices can be challenging. Many firms employ emulators to test applications for specific OS platforms like iOS or Android. Due to the incomplete data provided by testing with emulators, it is not always a successful technique.

The improvement of synchronisation between the QA and development teams benefits the DevOps culture. However, the extensive configuration management makes it difficult to achieve continuous app testing. The application must be configured, and test cases must be created for environments, devices, situations, various platforms, etc.

Containerisation makes cloud-scale automation possible. For typical test cases, fully automated orchestration techniques can be used. We can lessen the difficulty and mistakes associated with manual testing. It enables more resilient operation execution.

Increased workflow flexibility as a result of containerised workloads

Organisations that adopt a DevOps culture go through change management. Processes for managing change were in line with the preceding scenario when organisations integrated new services or increased resources.

But with DevOps, the whole situation is altered. We must adjust to evolving collaborations, processes, architecture, and role dynamics. Along with all of these adjustments, we also need incredibly adaptive workflows to meet the demands of a rapid rollout.

High adaptability is possible with containerisation. Containerisation makes change management simple by completely isolating processes. Without disrupting the entire system, we may efficiently perform process isolation for which modifications must be managed and swiftly deployed.

Implementing updates quickly with containers

Introducing new features is essential for gaining a competitive edge. Therefore, we need to roll out features and roll them back quickly as necessary. However, due to tightly connected services in a typical design, quick rollbacks and deployment are difficult. There are numerous configurations, libraries, and dependencies to manage rollouts and rollbacks.

Containers have a tiny configuration footprint and few dependencies. Additionally, depending on our needs, it will let us swiftly update apps by working on a single container or an entire cluster.

Faster application startup

Containers are significantly lighter than other virtualisation techniques like virtual machines (VMs). Being lightweight has several advantages, one of which is quick starting times. Startup times for containers are almost immediate because they do not require a virtualised operating system or a hypervisor to access computational resources.

The application itself is the only constraint. The only delay in the application startup is caused by your code and does not involve significant overhead. An excellent justification for regular upgrades and enhancements is a rapid startup.

Advantage of architecture as code (AaC)

The early success of DevOps on isolated teams appears exciting when you first start using it. However, the absence of governance might result in problems when you grow it across the infrastructure.

One potential remedy containerisation offers is architecture as Code for the absence of governance (AaC). Most businesses don't think about infrastructure when creating cloud applications; the architecture design takes centre stage. The same mentality inspires the idea behind AaC.

Improvements in configuration management

Running applications in various contexts is an extensive part of the mobile application development process. For instance, we might use a  production environment for the app store and testing environment for the beta stage and a staging environment for development. Unfortunately, navigating between these settings is challenging.

Development teams can use one codebase across several environments thanks to containerisation. With only a few parameters, containerised clusters may be built for any climate.

Conclusion

The concept of containerisation has existed for many years. This article discussed containers, containerisation, and why containers are essential in DevOps. We then dived into the 10 critical benefits of containerisation solving DevOps issues. If you have not already, now would be good time to start using containers!

Diksha B Patro
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September 21, 2022