Common Misconceptions About Docker, Containers and Microservices

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Common Misconceptions About Docker, Containers and Microservices

You can’t work for any length of time in the tech industry in 2017 without hearing or reading about microservices and container deployments. In the past four years alone, the proliferation of containers--spearheaded by Docker—has transformed how organizations look at computing and what it means for their business strategy long term. As container technology moves further into the mainstream, a number of misconceptions about how containers should be deployed in the enterprise have emerged. People ask questions such as, “Why should I care about Docker if I’m not a developer?” “Don’t containers give rise to greater security threats?” The list of questions goes on. In this eWEEK slide show, Banjot Chanana, senior director of product management at Docker, discusses six common myths that surround the company’s platform.

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Myth 1: Docker Is Only for Developers

Initial excitement surrounding Docker containers came from the developer community. That’s because the technology delivers a consistent and simplified way to build, ship and run containerized applications, regardless of the application or what infrastructure it runs on. As developers brought Docker into their workplace, it became apparent that IT teams had something to gain as well. While developers want faster development cycles, IT teams want a secure and consistent solution for managing the lifecycle and deployment of their applications without modifying application frameworks, infrastructure or operational models for each type of application.

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Myth 2: Docker Is a Hypervisor Replacement

Docker and hypervisors are complementary technologies in many ways. It’s not uncommon for Docker users to also leverage vSphere and other hypervisors alongside Docker. A primary driver for the adoption of Docker containers is that they aren’t dependent on the underlying infrastructure. Docker containers can be deployed on virtual machines, bare metal, cloud or on premises—bringing flexibility and portability to any application in order to run in any environment at any time.

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Myth 3: Containers Are Not Secure

Containers offer a wide range of security capabilities to secure each step of the software supply chain, including identifying everything in your pipeline—from people and code to dependencies and infrastructure. By containerizing applications, they immediately gain a layer of protection through strong isolation. In addition, the ephemeral nature of containers is a critical security strength, but visibility into the containers is also a must to ensure they are clean.

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How Docker Provides Visibility Into Security of Containers

Docker’s image scanning and signing presents organizations with visibility into the security condition of containers at each step of the application lifecycle—ensuring the integrity of the image and preventing untrusted content from being deployed. To further ensure application security remains stringent across the software supply chain, secrets are also encrypted in transit and at rest, while role-based access control (RBAC) ensures that resources are only available to certain users with a certain level of access.

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Myth 4: Docker Is Only for Linux

Developers ultimately want the flexibility to build and run applications that are not dependent on the underlying environment—a central reason for the rapid adoption of Docker containers from the get-go. Docker was first used for Linux, but it quickly expanded to include Windows-based containers. Fast forward, and now Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) is built into Windows Server 2016 and has expanded to add support for mainframes as well.

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Myth 5: Docker Is Only for Microservices

Using microservices can be viewed as a daunting journey to some organizations. In many cases, these companies want to start with existing traditional applications first and then break them down to microservices at a pace that fits their needs. By containerizing traditional applications, organizations gain greater efficiencies and security, and the applications become portable to hybrid cloud environments. Docker makes this possible without any changes to the code. This can jump-start the journey to app modernization and the development of microservices-based architectures.

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Myth 6: Docker Is Just a Runtime

Docker is far more than just a runtime. During the past four years, Docker has evolved to embody a complete platform with container and image management, orchestration, security and more. However, there are still misconceptions over what is a feature and what is a platform, which is an increasingly important distinction within a large and evolving container ecosystem. Kubernetes, for example, is a cluster manager/orchestration tool and would be a set of features within a container-as-a-service (CaaS) platform. Docker offers a complete platform with a range of capabilities across the application lifecycle, inclusive of orchestration, image and policy management, and security.

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