Application Containers

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Application containers are emerging to be a really useful form of technology through which organizations can gain consistency and an efficient work cycle with reference to hardware virtualization. A recent study conducted by 451 Research predicts that the market of application containers will hit $4.3 billion by the year 2022.

The blog details all the important and detailed information regarding application containers, their benefits and infrastructure. Moreover, it covers the ways in which they aid organizations in improving the consistency, production and efficiency of the applications.

What are Application Containers?

Application containers are an implementation of the OS-level virtualization technology that contains all the packages required for a software application. They are composed of application binaries, and software and hardware dependencies that are necessary for the functioning of an application.

Application containers are majorly used for deploying and running distributed applications without utilizing an entire virtual machine (VM) for each application. Therefore, they allow a lot of applications to run on a single host and OS kernel at the same time.

In a lot of instances, container-based virtualization liberates developers to build efficient design because it saves them from setting up various individual infrastructure systems for virtual components. Here are some of the best features of application containers that make them a robust technology that is worth giving a shot:

  • They offer an isolated environment for developing, running, and testing applications without interruption.
  • Application containers are lightweight and work efficiently even with lesser resources as compared to virtual machines.
  • They are supported by all the popular cloud platforms, such as AWS and Google Cloud, and can be deployed on the same without much effort.
  • Applications built on them can run on various machines because they are tailored with all of the required dependencies for launching these applications.
  • They come with advanced security because of strong isolation from the host system and applications running in parallel.
  • Users get to enjoy quick app start-up and better scaling options.
  • Liberates users to work efficiently on virtualized infrastructures without tons of hardware devices.

How do Application Containers Work?

The basic components of an application container are runtime components, like files, environment variables and libraries that help them run on desired software. Unlike virtual machines, they utilize lesser resources and all of their information gets executed in a container image. This image later gets deployed on the host.

An application container further works with microservices and distributed applications that are interconnected with each other via application programming interfaces (APIs). Later, these microservices get scaled up to meet the requirements of the application in real-time and distribute the load.

Now for updating the applications built on application containers, developers just have to manipulate the code in the container images and redeploy the same images for running them on the host OS.

Application Containers vs Virtualization vs System Containers

Server virtualization utilizes a hypervisor to divide the resources, such as memory and processor, equally among the machines. Also, applications in a virtualization environment are allowed to use their own version of the OS.

Therefore, different applications can use different OS versions of a similar host. However, they utilize more resources and work on a lot of OS licenses as compared to the application container setup.

On the other hand, the application containers offer a safe space for applications to use resources without having a dependency on other applications utilizing a similar operating system.

The system containers are somewhat similar to VMs but they don’t use hardware virtualization. Instead, they rely on images and are composed of 3 things:

  1. A host operating system,
  2. An application library, and
  3. Execution code.

Best Reasons to Choose Application Containers

1. They’re lightweight

Application containers are extremely lightweight as compared to virtualization techniques because they only contain their own software dependencies and the YAML file along with minimal hardware. For the rest of the things, they use the system on which they’re deployed.

They’re so lightweight that their portability and transfer to other environments can be done in seconds including the relaunch. Moreover, sometimes tightly coupled applications can also share a single container.

2. Better scalability options

Because of their small size and lightweight infrastructure, various copies of an application build on it can be released on each server.

The high number of applications will automatically increase the scalability options and result in efficient processing. This will also enhance their availability as the death of any single container will not affect the overall function of the service.

3. Portability

Application containers are extremely easy to shift from one server to another and toggle them between clouds. Moreover, users can also mirror them from and to another cluster in mere minutes along with all the resources required for them to run.

Users also don’t have to check the compatibility or load additional software prior to deployment as their smaller size makes the same compatible with most of the platforms. Also, these apps offer flexibility in terms of availability and the run-time environment.

4. Diverse ecosystem

Application containers have a large ecosystem in which tons of containerized applications are available. Users are allowed to take these applications as templates or foundations for building subsequent apps.

For example, you can download a simple pre-built Apache Web Server and use it to save development time and resources required.

5. Running multiple Containers

Since all the application containers run in parallel to each other, the resources they use are similar. But application containers keep them isolated from each other to avoid interruptions. This results in allowing multiple containers to run on the same server, at the same time.

The resources get assigned equally to every container. Also, it manages the load of these containers by assigning resources accordingly. This avoids applications to eliminate the interruption among them and function smoothly.

6. Flexible deployment

Application containers are self-contained. Applications running in a container run in the same way as they do on any hardware. This is possible because they are composed of all the dependencies. These things result in making applications and containers deploy whenever required.


The blog must’ve helped you learn what application containers actually are and how they’re different from VMs and System Containers. They boost the productivity and deployment rate of applications and eliminate the problem of dependencies. Therefore, making the development process more efficient and flexible.

Moreover, the blog outlined the benefits of application containers to help you learn the value they can add to your organization. Drop your queries or suggestions in the comments section below. We would be more than happy to resolve or answer the same.

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