what is docker

Do you know what Docker is used for? Are you familiar with more detailed information about this tool? In this article, we will cover the basics of Docker and where this tool can be useful. Let’s dive in!


What is Docker?

Shortly said, Docker is software that allows you to run your application inside containers. These containers contain your code and all dependencies that your app needs in order to run. This concept is very close to the concept of Virtual Machines.

Docker is an open-source project and can be used to make your application more portable (compact) or to automate the deployment process. The biggest benefit is that if you use Docker containers for your application, it will run the same way on every environment, regardless of the OS, installed apps, etc. There is no more “it works on my machine”.



What is the difference between a Docker container and a virtual machine?

Docker and Virtual Machines have many things in common, but they have core differences between them. Both technologies provide isolated from the host node environment and are widely used nowadays. Docker is much more lightweight, more flexible and faster in terms of boot time compared to the VMs. Docker starts containers. The containers use the same host operating system and they contain only your app, not a whole operating system with the kernel as it is when you use virtual machines. Your Docker container will contain only the things your application needs to operate. For a better understanding, look at the illustration below.



Real-World applications of Docker

We have prepared some real-world cases when Docker can be very useful and save a lot of our precious time.


Docker boosts your developer’s productivity.

For the developers, the worst things are to configure the development environment and then to fight with the QA why some functionality does not work on stage/production, due to inconsistency between the dev environment and the production one.

With Docker, you boost your programmer’s productivity. The environment is as close as possible to the production one.


You can automate the deployment process.

When you use Docker, the deployment process can be completely automated and the chances of error are as minimal as possible.


Isolation of the apps

Every app is running in a separate container, with its own software and completely isolated from the other software installed on the host machine or in the other containers.

Imagine that you are a developer and you have to work on two separate, let’s say, PHP projects. One of the projects runs on PHP 7.1 and the other PHP 7.4. If you do not use docker, you would have to support multiple PHP versions on your machine. This is already too complicated. 

With the ease of the Docker images and containers, you can achieve this easily and quickly.


They are faster than traditional VMs

If you want to speed up your boot time, you definitely have to check out Docker or other container technologies (OpenVZ, LXC, etc). They boot amazingly fast in comparison to the traditional VPS servers.


You can scale easily

Due to the fact that your application is in a container, this container can be spawned multiple times and this is the way you scale your business.

What is horizontal scaling?


How can I install Docker on my machine?

Docker can be installed on any machine - bare metal, VPS server, or Virtual Dedicated Instance. Our team has written a command-by-command tutorial on how to install docker on a Linux machine.

Docker is a powerful tool, already used by many big companies. It can improve your workflow, automate a big part of the process and decrease the chance of human errors. Are you ready to check it out?

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