Technology January 24, 2022 Last updated January 24th, 2022 1,969 Reads share

What Is Docker, And Why Is It Revolutionary For Software Development?

Software DevelopmentImage Credit:

The introduction of container technology brought radical changes to modern software development. Teams started incorporating this technology as an essential part of their toolset as it delivered improvements in efficiency and software quality. Such industry-wide acceptance of container technologies like Docker led to applications that help you work with containers better, like Docker Registry. It’s a highly scalable application that allows you to manage and distribute your Docker images. With such applications supporting it, Docker has become fundamental to software development. Read on to find out more about how containers help you develop better software products.

 

Enabling Greater Portability

One of the most crucial aspects of modern software development is the choice of tools and technology you use. Your tech stack will significantly impact your software quality and overall productivity. Therefore, most developers look for an assortment of technologies that integrate well and enable individual developers to work on the product. However, the arrival of Docker relaxed this constraint as it introduced the gift of portability.

Docker allows you to have greater control down to a granular level by isolating applications and their environments. Docker containers are packages with the whole code and dependencies that you can easily share among different systems. Therefore, your developers no longer need to worry about having compatible environments or managing dependencies. Docker takes care of all such details and allows the software package to run smoothly.

Helping You Automate Better

Modern software development methodologies have automation at their very core. After all, it saves precious resources like time and effort that you can then put into delivering a better end result. Testing and deployment are more often the heavily automated development stages. Thanks to Docker’s technology, automation has become easier to implement, and you can now automate more complex development stages.

You can use Docker to create specified environments that provide all the tools you may need for automated testing and deployment. Such environments can consistently run unit tests that ensure a product doesn’t proceed to a later development stage unless it is of a certain quality. You can use applications like Docker Hub to automate deployment and help build robust CI/CD pipelines.

Helping Improve Development Velocity

In today’s times, we don’t just simply need good software. We need good software quicker than before as opportunities can be lost if it’s too late. Thankfully, focusing on automation and portability enables modern developers to create better software faster. The growing popularity of methodologies like DevOps and CI/CD primarily owes itself to the kind of development velocity they deliver. By incorporating Docker, you can achieve even greater speed.

The lightweight and portable nature of Docker helps save vast amounts of time for developers and speed up development. Using the right tools to set up and run crucial Docker applications can further increase your productivity. Docker Registry by JFrog is one such tool to help speed up your Registry-related tasks, and it even optimizes your Docker builds to help save more time. JFrog also offers you all the options you may need to set up an automated workflow with advanced testing capabilities. You can build a pipeline for your Docker images that test the image as it heads towards production. With JFrog, you can ensure that your Docker images are ready for end-users, be it enterprise-level production systems or individual end-users.

Makes Scaling Simpler

As the internet grows and the technological revolution continues, software needs will continue growing. Every modern software aims to grow and expand its user base and its set of features. However, ensuring such scalability has always been a massive challenge for developers since it can become hard to estimate how large a product would grow. Thankfully, Docker made scaling software products easier.

By breaking your software product’s functionalities into multiple Docker applications, you can make your software modular and easier to scale. Since Docker is lightweight, such a strategy doesn’t strain the software’s performance. You can manage and orchestrate the cluster of Docker applications through a powerful technology like Kubernetes that is also becoming increasingly popular.

Docker Drawbacks

It is true that containers can solve a lot of the problems; however, they cannot solve all the problems of a developer.

  • Docker Containers can not be used as virtual machines. Containers generally use some controlled portions or parts of the resources shared by the operating system of the hosts, which virtual machines never do. So, the elements of a host computer will not be totally isolated in case of using docker containers.
  • Docker containers cannot provide you with the bare-metal speed in case your work requires that. No matter how lightweight the docker containers actually are if compared to virtual machines, still, they cannot reach the bare-metal speed as the virtual machines can.
  • Docker containers are unchangeable and stateless. Containers start up and run from a picture that specifies what’s inside. By default, that image is immutable—it cannot be changed once it has been created. A container instance, on the other hand, is temporary. It’s gone for good once it’s been deleted from system memory. You must design for persistence if you want your containers to persist state across sessions, similar to a virtual machine.
  • Docker has become so popular that some industry analysts are suggesting that virtual machines (VMs) be phased out in favor of container technologies like Docker and LXC. However, whether or not to use Docker depends on the individual requirements of a project. Docker isn’t always the best solution.

 

Final Words

Docker has brought great strides in the software development industry. Developers have started to produce robust software, and as cloud-native applications become more popular, enterprises are investing more in Docker. It has effectively replaced virtual machines and provides more features with less overhead. While it may not solve all the problems, Docker still provides terrific value by making automation easier, speeding up development, and making scaling and orchestration more manageable. It is hardly surprising how Docker has revolutionized software development with so many advantages to offer.

Daniel Bailey

Daniel Bailey

Read Full Bio