What is Docker in DevOps? How Does it Work? Tutorial Guide For Beginners

Gyansetu Team Devops/Cloud Computing

There is a lot of technology available today in the market. There are great minds at work daily to bring people the best solutions. This makes competition fierce and allows customers a lot of options from which they can choose.

The most popular amongst them is cloud technologies. They are also many DevOps tools and methods that can simplify routine issues in a software development company. You need to learn about such trends that can help you build products faster.

Developers need to deliver products constantly and services even better than their competitors. This means that many firms are embracing cloud practices and concepts like containerization. This makes DevOps tools like Docker in high demand.

If you are wondering what is Docker in DevOps, you are not the only one. Here we will try to explain the concept simply. We will also introduce some benefits of using Docker that can be helpful for developers and architects.

 What is DevOps?

It is a combination of two words that are, “Development” and “Operations”. It is a software engineering practice that combines software development (Dev) and software operations (Ops) in an organization.

 

DevOps is a type of tools, practices, and cultural philosophies that enable an organization to deliver applications and services fast. It is a type of ecosystem needed to automate processes between development, testing, and IT teams. This results in seamless building, testing, and launching of software efficiently.

This constant cycle of collaboration and iterative improvement throughout the entire software development life cycle improves the products at a faster rate. This speed of project management leads to improved services to the customer and better performance than the competition.

 Learn Devops

 Some Advantages of DevOps 

  • Technical Advantages
    • Faster and continuous delivery of software
    • Reduction in management complexities
    • Quicker resolution of problems
  • Business Benefits
    • Faster delivery of solutions
    • Enhanced communication and collaboration
    • More time for innovation and creativity
  • Cultural Benefits
    • Happier, more productive teams
    • Improved work environment
    • Employees are more engaged
    • Diverse growth opportunities

What is Docker?

Docker is a type of containerization platform that packages your application and all its dependencies together. This ensures that your application works seamlessly in any environment.

Docker is a popular Platform As A Service (PAAS) product. It uses virtualization at the operating system-level and delivers software in packages called containers. These make it easier for a developer to create, run, and deploy applications.

What are Virtual Machines?

A virtual machine is a great imitation of a personal computer. It has its memory, CPU, network interface, and storage to act as an actual physical computer. To implement them you may need special software, hardware, or a mixture.

What is Docker Containers?

It is a unit of code that packages up a new code of an application that the developer is writing and all of its dependencies. It makes the application run faster between different computer settings.

A docker image is a small, standalone, workable package of computer code. It has everything you need to run an application on another system. The components include the code, system tools, runtime environment, system libraries, and settings.

 Advantages of Docker

  • High Savings and ROI

One of the primary advantages of Docker is its ability to deliver high savings and a remarkable return on investment. Traditional virtualization methods often incur significant overhead costs in terms of hardware and maintenance. 

Docker, on the other hand, operates on containerization, allowing multiple lightweight containers to run on a single host OS without the need for separate hypervisors.

By eliminating the need for additional infrastructure and reducing resource consumption, Docker enables organizations to optimize their hardware usage, leading to cost savings. 

Moreover, the speed and efficiency of Docker contribute to faster development cycles, ultimately translating into quicker time-to-market for products and services. This accelerated pace can significantly enhance an organization’s overall ROI.

  • Increase in Productivity

Docker’s containerization model promotes a consistent and reproducible environment across various stages of the development lifecycle. 

Developers can create containerized applications with all the dependencies bundled together, ensuring that the software runs consistently across different environments, from development to testing and production.

This consistency minimizes the common problem of “it works on my machine” scenarios, where code behaves differently in different environments. Developers can focus on writing code without worrying about the intricacies of the underlying infrastructure, leading to increased productivity. 

The ability to encapsulate applications and their dependencies in containers also simplifies collaboration among team members, fostering a more streamlined and efficient development process.

  • Easier Maintenance

Also, docker simplifies the process of application maintenance by encapsulating each application and its dependencies in a container. 

This encapsulation ensures that applications run consistently across different environments and eliminates the notorious “dependency hell” problem. With Docker, updates and patches can be applied to containers without affecting the host system or other applications.

Additionally, Docker’s versioning and rollback features allow for easy management of changes. If an update causes issues, reverting to a previous version is a straightforward process. 

This ease of maintenance not only reduces the risk of system failures but also streamlines the overall maintenance workflow for IT teams.

  • Rapid Deployment

One of Docker advantages is its ability to facilitate rapid and efficient deployment of applications. Containers are lightweight and start almost instantly, allowing for quick scaling and deployment of services. 

This rapid deployment is particularly beneficial in dynamic and scalable environments, such as cloud computing.

Docker’s containerization model allows developers to package applications and their dependencies into a single container, ensuring consistency and eliminating compatibility issues across different environments. 

As a result, deploying applications becomes a seamless and efficient process, enabling organizations to respond swiftly to changing business requirements and customer needs.

  • Continuous Deployment and Testing Environment

Docker projects play a pivotal role in enabling continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices. CI/CD aims to automate the entire software delivery process, from code changes to production deployment. 

Docker containers provide a standardized environment, ensuring that applications behave consistently throughout the development lifecycle.

With Docker, developers can create a containerized testing environment that mirrors the production environment closely. This allows for comprehensive testing of applications in an environment that closely resembles the one in which they will ultimately run. 

The ability to spin up multiple containers for different stages of testing enhances the efficiency of the testing process, leading to more reliable and higher-quality software releases.

  • It Uses Less Memory

Traditional virtualization methods often lead to resource-intensive processes, consuming substantial memory and storage. Docker, in contrast, operates on containerization, which is inherently lightweight. 

Containers share the host OS’s kernel, resulting in minimal overhead and efficient utilization of system resources.

The reduced memory footprint of Docker allows organizations to maximize the efficiency of their infrastructure, enabling them to run more containers on the same hardware compared to traditional virtualization. 

This not only leads to cost savings but also contributes to improved performance and responsiveness of applications.

  • Faster and Simpler Configurations

Docker simplifies the configuration management process, making it faster and more straightforward. Traditional deployment methods often involve complex configuration setups that can lead to errors and inconsistencies. 

Docker containers encapsulate the entire runtime environment, including the application code, libraries, and dependencies, in a single package.

This packaging approach eliminates the need for manual configuration of individual components and ensures that the entire application stack is consistent across different environments. 

Developers can define the configuration of an application in a Dockerfile, which can be version-controlled and shared among team members. This standardization leads to faster and more reliable configuration processes, reducing the likelihood of configuration-related issues in production.

  • Seamless Portability

Docker’s containerization model offers seamless portability across various infrastructure environments, from on-premises data centers to public and private clouds. Containers encapsulate applications and their dependencies, making them agnostic to the underlying infrastructure. 

This portability ensures that applications run consistently across different environments, simplifying the process of migrating or scaling applications.

The ability to package an application once and run it anywhere streamlines the deployment process and reduces compatibility concerns. 

Developers can build and test applications in one environment and confidently deploy them in another, knowing that the containerized application will behave consistently. 

This portability is particularly valuable in hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios, where applications need to run across diverse infrastructure environments.

Differences Between Docker and Virtual Machine

Parameter Docker Virtual Machine
Definition Group of processes that a shared kernel manages Has an operating system that shares the host hardware via a hypervisor
Image Size  In MBs In GBs
Boost-up speed Very Fast Very Slow
Efficiency Higher Lower
Scaling Easy to scale up Difficult to scale up

 

Space allocation Share and reuse data volumes among various Docker containers Cannot share data volumes with VMs
Portability Docker is easily portable May face compatibility issues across different platforms
Availability Open Source contains both paid and open-source (free) software

What is Docker in DevOps?

It is a platform that is a perfect fit for the DevOps ecosystem. It is an apt solution for software companies that cannot keep up with the pace of changing technology, business, and customer requirements. This makes Docker an obvious choice to scale up and fasten operations in a company.

The reason for the success of Docker in the DevOps environment is its ability in containerizing the applications. This reduces the time to develop and release a solution for a software development company.

It is useful in overcoming the challenges of the ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’ environment. It allows an application to run on any application regardless of the host configurations. This enables all the teams to collaborate while working efficiently and effectively.

Docker allows you to streamline and control changes throughout the development cycle. You can use it throughout the development, production, and release stages. If you want to go back to a previous version, you can do that using Docker.

You can also ensure that a feature is working in the production environment based on whether it is operational in the development environment.

5 Reasons for choosing AWS with DevOps 

 Why Use Docker?

  • Agility: Container technology like Docker helps in wrapping up the application along with its libraries, binaries, and configuration files. It helps create a single package quickly enough that is deployable on different platforms/environments with no compatibility issues.
  • Less Overhead: Containers share the guest operating system and its resources. This makes the using the container fast, light-weight, and far superior to virtual machines.
  • Version Control: Containers help you control different versions of an application easily. It also helps to move across environments without worrying about specific customizations.

How it Fits in DevOps?

Docker is a tool that benefits both developers and administrators. This makes it a part of many DevOps (developers + operations) toolchains. Developers can write code without worrying about the system that will be ultimately running the application. They can also use one of the thousands of programs that are developers have already developed to run in a Docker container.

For operations staff, Docker gives them the flexibility to test in a unique environment. It also reduces the cost of investing in multiple settings, as Docker files are of small size and have low overhead.

Many DevOps applications are already using Docker, such as Ansible, Vagrant, Chef, and Puppet. This helps in automating the use of unique environments and the deployment of those environments.

Learn Docker/Kubernetes 

 What is Docker Used For?

  • Developers can write code and share their work with their colleagues using Docker containers.
  • Docker can be useful in pushing applications into a test environment to execute automated and manual tests.
  • Developers can find and fix bugs in a development environment. Then, redeploy them to the test environment for validation and testing.
  • After testing, you can send the fixed application to the customer easily. You can also push updates to the product environment just as easily.

Let Us Take An Example…

Suppose there is a company that is developing an application in Java. For this, they need to install the tomcat server on the developer’s system. After development, it goes to the tester who will again require a tomcat environment to test the application.

Once the testing is complete, you will need to deploy it on the production server. This too will require tomcat installed on the system to host the Java application. Ultimately, you will need to install tomcat thrice. This is easily avoidable by using Docker.

All you need is to create a tomcat docker image using a base OS like Ubuntu. This is existing online on various websites. Now, you can use this image on all systems, including that of a developer, tester, and system admin.

This way you will get the tomcat environment automatically, solving the problem in a software development company.

What are the Benefits of Using Docker in DevOps?

There are a lot of advantages of using both Docker and DevOps. Both can help you increase collaboration among various teams who are part of the software life cycle. Both offer a broad range of business, development, and technical benefits. Although each has its drawbacks, they fit perfectly together.

Here we list some key benefits of using Docker with DevOps:

  • If an application runs in a development environment, it will run successfully in another using Docker.
  • Using Docker with DevOps makes it easier to create applications using unique interconnected components.
  • You also get a high level of control over all the changes during the development life cycle. This makes it easier to go back to a previous version of the application you want.

 Conclusion

Docker is the future of designing, developing, and deploying an application in a simple, affordable, and fast way. It ensures that an application runs post-production, just as it did during development and testing.

Through this post, we have tried to explain what is Docker in DevOps in the best way. It should clear any doubts that you have about the technology.

If are yet to try Docker for yourself, we highly recommend using it to embrace the digital transformation. You will be a part of the diverse set of users that continue to grow every day and benefit from its advantages.

Gyansetu Team

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