Over the years, technology has revolutionized processes and paved the way for more efficient, innovative, and user-friendly software development. However, this has created intense pressure on the IT industry to deliver quality products with new features and functionality at a faster and agile pace. To combat this challenge, software enterprises worldwide have incorporated DevOps into their software development life cycle (SDLC) to ensure continuous software development, deployment, and delivery, all without compromising the software quality and performance.

Moreover, to further achieve this goal successfully, enterprises are readily adopting Containerization, a prominent DevOps practice that allows developers to create and deploy applications faster and more securely.


What is Containerization? What makes it so efficient? Why is it so popular among software developers today?

If you want to get the answers to these questions and more, continue reading the following article, where we explore the concepts of Containerization technology to understand its significance in software development.

Let’s Get Started!

What is Containerization?

An alternative or companion to virtualization, Containerization is a form of operating system virtualization used to run applications in an isolated user-space called containers, using the same shared operating system (OS). It is a new approach to application provisioning that involves encapsulating or packaging up software code and all its dependencies for uniform and consistent execution on any infrastructure. It is among the most beneficial development methodologies that enable developers to build and deploy applications faster and securely.

Containerization eliminates bugs and errors that result from the transfer of code from a specific computing environment to a new location by bundling the application code together with the related configuration files, libraries, and dependencies that are required for the application to run.

This single package of software, known as a container, is abstracted away from the host operating system, which allows it to run across multiple platforms or Cloud without any issues or errors. These containers offer immense flexibility as they are quick and easy to deploy and manage and require fewer resources to run.

In short, Containerization is a consistent, portable, secure, and efficient virtualization solution that drastically increases the agility of CI/CD cycles, reduces heavyweight legacy applications into lightweight parts, and helps minimize resource usage and system outages. It is one of the latest developments in Cloud Computing that allows enterprises to modernize their existing applications, create new Cloud-native enterprise applications, and work with Cloud services effectively.

Defining Containers:

One of the major trends in software development today, Containers are a standardized unit of software abstracted from the operating system that helps organizations, both large and small, streamline application build, test, deployment, and redeployment on various environments. Using containers for development is an efficient way of improving application life-cycle management, with capabilities like continuous integration and delivery.

Containers, the lightweight software components, package up everything required to execute an app, such as the code and all its dependencies, and allow developers to create an application on a local environment and deploy it to an on-premises data center or even the cloud servers, which ensures quick and reliable execution.

Types of Containers:

There are two major types of Containers, based on the different problems they are oriented to solve, which are:

  • System Containers: Similar to Virtual Machines, System Container, which is also known as Operating System Container, is the oldest container type used for traditional or monolithic applications. It is an operating system-centric solution that runs multiple processes and allows teams to host tools, reuse architectures and configurations implemented for virtual machines. Prominent examples of System Configuration include Linux-VServer, OpenVZ/Virtuozzo, LXC/LXD, Solaris Zones, etc.
  • Application Containers: An application, service, or microservice centric solution, Application Container is one of the latest container types used to run a single process inside. Application Container is easily scalable horizontally, which makes it suitable for immutable and ephemeral infrastructures. Common examples of application containers include Docker, Kubernetes, CRI-O, Containers, and more.

How does Containerization Works?

To make software development standard, lightweight, and secure, containerization virtualizes the host operating system, specifically Linux Kernel, which also supports multiple containers concurrently. The kernel acts as a bridge between the software of the OS and the hardware of the underlying system.

During this process, each application container assumes it is the only running application, with a set of supporting libraries. This ensures the effectiveness of the application, as all containers run minimal, resources isolated processes that cannot be accessed by others. Since these containers are lightweight (as they share the OS kernel, start faster, and require less memory) they ensure the applications work uniformly despite differences, for instance, between development and staging.

This process involves three important components:

  • Namespace: It offers the container access to its underlying operating system. Each container has multiple namespaces that offer different information about the OS.
  • Control Groups: Control groups are used to implement hard limits for resource usages (CPU, memory, disk I/O, and network), which are managed by the Linus kernel feature.
  • Union File System: Containers follow a stackable file system, where files and directories in different branches are overlaid to form a single file system. This helps avoid duplicating data whenever a new container is deployed.

Best Practices for Containerization:

To unlock the power of containerization, organizations need to adopt the best practices that ensure quality, security, and accurate execution of the process. Therefore, here is a list of some critical practices for Containerization:

  • Target the Right Application: Before implementing containerization, make sure you select an app that requires modernization, superior user experience, and a high frequency of releases and updates. Also make sure it is large or web-scale, has a stateless architecture, among other things.
  • Adopt and Apply DevSecOps: This will help organizations instill a company-wide security culture that embraces security automation.
  • Build the Smallest Image Possible: Reduce the size of your image by installing only what is strictly needed inside it. This will help simplify the build, save memory, and allow quicker optimization time.
  • Build Customized Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery Pipeline Architecture: This will help organizations understand how containers affect integration, testing, and acceptance stages before deployment and production and allow them to deliver more innovative and quality features quickly, with minimum risk during deployment.
  • Ensure Enterprise Integrations: Another critical practice that prevents businesses from failure and involves authentication and authorization, monitoring, security, ACL governance risk compliance, single sign-on (SSO), and more.
  • Orchestrate Correctly: It is important to select suitable container orchestration tools like Kubernetes & Docker to ensure accurate Container orchestration. However, to select the most suitable containerization tools teams must consider factors like scalability, OS support, runtime stability, open-source, and support for hybrid and multi-cloud, and compare their orchestration methods.

Difference Between Containerization and Virtualization:

Two widely used hosting and software development technologies Containerization and Virtualization are often confused with one another, as both (Containers and Virtual Machines) allow multiple types of software to be run in contained environments. Though the two are not mutually exclusive, as Containerization came into being to overcome a variety of Virtualization issues, these can help organizations become more agile, scalable, and responsive to business demands.

Hence, we must familiarize ourselves with these two distinct technologies to better understand their dependency, business requirements, benefits, and more.


  • Represents operating system virtualization.
  • Lightweight.
  • Offers real-time provisioning and scalability.
  • Native performance.
  • Offers process-level isolation, which makes it less secure.
  • Significantly reduces the time needed to deploy and run an application.
  • Images in Container are easier to transfer and save space on the host’s filesystem.


  • Represents hardware-level virtualization.
  • Heavyweight.
  • Compared to virtualization it offers slow provisioning.
  • Limited performance.
  • Fully isolated, which makes it more secure.
  • Takes much longer than a container to deploy and run an app.
  • Images in virtual machines require excessive details and are not easy to share.

Benefits of Containerization:

Containerization, though not new to the field, is making a bigger impact in IT than ever before. The majority of developers today are eagerly embracing the technology over virtual machines to leverage its capabilities to build and distribute application code and dependencies with accuracy, agility, and speed as well as to enjoy the benefits of modern Cloud Computing, DevOps, and Docker. It is a technology that not only offers significant benefits to developers and development teams but also the organization and the end-users.

Therefore, here are some prominent Containerization benefits that make it a popular choice among software engineering teams:

  • It is portable.
  • Improves application performance and efficiency.
  • It is DevOps friendly, as it allows developers and testers to work in collaboration.
  • Supports multiple Cloud platforms like GCS, Amazon ECS, Amazon DevOps Server, Rackspace server, and VirtualBox, etc.
  • Ensure maximum utilization of resources.
  • Offers faster scalability and value for money.
  • Faster and more convenient delivery of features and changes.
  • Helps build a reliable, secure, and flexible environment.
  • Improves application security by isolating it from the host system.
  • Containers, along with Microservices and Cloud Computing bring application development and delivery to new levels.

Drawbacks of Containerization:

While defining containerization, we cannot overlook its drawbacks. Therefore, here are some disadvantages of containerization that prevent its smooth implementation within an organization.

  • Requires a significant amount of setup.
  • Insufficient application support and dependency.
  • Monitoring containers is harder than monitoring virtual machines.
  • The shared infrastructure, though suitable for resource utilization, can leave enterprises more vulnerable.


A revolutionizing trend in the field of software development and management, Containerization is being rapidly embraced by software organizations worldwide, along with Microservices, Cloud Computing, and more. Moreover, the technology is being backed and supported by tech giants like IBM and Google, which further guarantees that its popularity and adoption will continue to increase in both magnitude and speed in the coming years.

Containerization, with its portability, agility, fault isolation, ease of management, and security is a superior software development approach that allows teams to move fast, deploy software efficiently, and operate at an unprecedented scale.