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Docker is an industry leading, open source containerisation technology that allows developers to build, manage and secure applications without worrying about infrastructure dependencies or vendor lock in.

What is containerisation?

Containerisation is a method for efficiently deploying applications – with the overall aim being to enable applications to run anywhere on any machine. The concept is inspired by the shipping industry, where the introduction of standardised shipping containers and handling equipment simplified the transportation of everything from coffee beans to clothing. Goods can now be loaded, transferred, shipped over distance and then unloaded efficiently using a single process.

Software containerisation uses these same underlying principles. A container is a standardised structure which can store and run any application, and can be transported from server to server. Each application is stored within its own container, which holds an image of all components required for it to run – the code, settings, systems tools and libraries etc. This creates an isolated operating environment which can run on any server.

How can I use Docker at Bytemark?

To make it even quicker to get started with Docker, we’ve added Docker on Debian 9 as an imaging option to our server creation screen in the Bytemark Panel.

Why should I use Docker?

Ship code faster

Use any language, stack or tools without worry of application conflicts. Stop wasting hours on complicated setup.

Create environments on the fly

Frustrated with building fragile environments? Docker removes your reliance on complex dependencies and snowflake solutions.

Scale effortlessly

Spin up new instances on demand and make unlimited numbers of your local, test and production environments.

Simplify dev to ops

Never have another ‘Well it works on my machine’ discussion again. Code will be reproduced exactly from the developer’s desktop, to the test environment, to production.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Docker containers slow?
Docker containers are essentially as fast as the machine they are running on. Unlike Virtual Machines, there is very little resource overhead for containers.
Are Docker containers specific to one operating system?
In theory, no. However there may be conflicts with certain legacy or niche operating systems. This is why we recommend running Docker on Debian 9, which is the latest stable version of Debian.
Are docker containers isolated?
Docker containers are not as isolated as Virtual Machines, which are isolated at the hardware level. Docker containers running on a machine share the same “host” kernel. However Docker containers do use similar security features to Linux containers. When you start a container, Docker creates a set of namespaces for the container. Each container also gets its own network stack and you can set up Control Groups to limit and account for resources.
How does containerisation differ from using Virtual Machines (VMs)?
VMs work using hardware virtualization; the host OS acts as a hypervisor and presents VMs with virtual hardware that looks real. Guest VMs run their own complete operating system, including a kernel. In contrast, containers share the host OS kernel. This means slightly less isolation compared to VMs, but provides lower resource usage and better performance. You can fit more containers, and therefore services, onto a single server compared to VMs and save on hosting costs.
What does a Docker image contain?
An OS usually consists of at least a kernel along with a set of system libraries and utilities. A Docker image uses the kernel from the host OS, but generally needs its own minimal set of system libraries and utilities required for an OS to function; this set is often taken from Alpine Linux or Debian Linux. This minimal OS image is usually what people use as a starting point for their own images, adding to the image their own applications, sites and services such as a MySQL database or web server software like Apache.

Get started with Docker today

Get started with Docker now on Bytemark Cloud with our 7 Day free trial