Understanding Docker Containers – What Are They Exactly? - Insane Visions

Understanding Docker Containers – What Are They Exactly?

Docker has been gaining a lot of popularity lately, and as the diversity on the operating system market increases, interest in the platform is sure to rise as well. For now, it’s a fantastic solution for those who don’t want to worry about portability and security issues, and it’s widespread enough to be easy to use for pretty much anyone. You don’t need to have any specialized knowledge to get started using Docker, as its documentation and community support make it a breeze to get your foot in the door.

Understanding what Docker containers are and how they work is important if you’re going to do various kinds of development, and Web developers in particular tend to show active interest in the platform. There is a lot to gain from the way Docker works and handles your applications, and as long as you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with the platform’s intricacies, you should find it very simple and intuitive to use.

What is a Docker container?

If you’re familiar with virtual machines, you should already have some intuition about how Docker containers work. The principle is not too different, although there are some intricate differences in the way resources are shared and utilized between the two. In the end though, the main point is the same – you have an application that is isolated and delivered as a standalone piece of software, and can be executed in a contained environment.

The benefits of this should be obvious to anyone who’s ever had to deal with porting their code to different platforms or applications such as FileMaker. You’ll be able to share your work with more people with much less hassle, and you’ll never have to worry about complicated compatibility issues, such as ones stemming from platform support.

Docker containers also provide more security than a regular application, as they isolate resources from other applications as well as the operating system as a whole more effectively. However, don’t count on Docker itself as a security solution – it’s more of an additional tool in what should be a wide arsenal at your disposal.

Benefits of Docker containers

Other than the increased security and portability of applications that we described above, there is another big reason why developers choose to use Docker containers, and that’s performance. Due to the way system works, you can often execute a significantly larger number of Docker containers on a single machine, as opposed to virtual machines and other popular solutions.

While they’re obviously not unlimited in their capacity, Docker containers often work far better when performance is critical, and they are the default solution for many developers who want to run multiple instances of something with as little hassle as possible.

Docker also sees active development from many sides, and people keep coming up with more and more innovative solutions to various performance bottlenecks. You should find Docker to be a great platform if performance is one of your primary concerns.

In general, sandboxing your applications and isolating them from the rest of the environment is a good idea whenever possible. It has benefits for both the developer as well as the end user, and can help establish trust in that relationship much faster. There are some cases where sandboxing is not that appropriate and will only impose negative effects on your application, but as long as you do your research and run some tests on your end, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Security is obviously heightened when working in an environment like this, and this can be a critical feature for some types of applications. If you want to run regular tests that probe your security practices, a Docker container can facilitate that quite well, and it can streamline the whole procedure for you.

And this brings us to our last, but definitely not least point – version control. Docker can naturally assist you in that important part of your daily work, allowing you to focus on writing clean, functioning code instead of having to mess with repository compatibilities and other similar issues on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons many developers choose to go with Docker nowadays, and that user base is expected to grow even larger in the near future.


If you’ve never used Docker before, you should at least give it a try, whether or not you see potential uses for it in your development workflow. You never know when you might find your next favorite thing on the development scene, and joining the community around Docker can definitely be a fun experience of its own.

Beatrice Santos
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