Container Computing #Docker and #AWS

Big changes in the technology world seem to come about in two
ways. Sometimes there’s a big splashy announcement and a visible
public leap in to the future. Most of the time, however, change is a
bit more subtle. Early adopters find a new technology that makes
them more productive and share it amongst themselves. Over time the
news spreads to others. At some point the once-new technology
suddenly (for those who haven’t been paying attention) seems to have
become very popular, seemingly overnight! This technology adoption
model can be seen in the recent growth in the popularity of
container computing, exemplified by the rising awareness
of Docker. Containers are
lightweight, portable, and self-sufficient. Even better, they can be
run in a wide variety of environments. You can, if you’d like,
build and test a container locally and then deploy it to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for

Benefits of Container Computing

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits that accrue when
you create your cloud-based application as a collection of
containers, each specified declaratively and mapped to a single,
highly specific aspect of your architecture:

  • Consistency & Fidelity

    There’s nothing worse than creating something that works great
    in a test environment yet fails or runs inconsistently when
    moved to production. When you are building and releasing code in
    an agile fashion, wasting time debugging issues that arise from
    differences between environments is a huge barrier to
    productivity. The declarative, all-inclusive packaging model
    used by gives you the power to enumerate your
    application’s dependencies. Your application will have access to
    the same libraries and utilities, regardless of where it is

  • Distributed Application Platform
    If you build your application as a set of distributed services,
    each in a Docker container running CoreOS,
    they can easily find and connect to
    each other, perhaps with the aid of a scheduler like
    Mesosphere. This will allow you to
    deploy and then easily scale containers across a “grid” of EC2 instances.
  • Development Efficiency

    Building your application as a collection of tight, focused containers
    allows you to build them in parallel with strict, well-defined interfaces.
    With better interfaces between moving parts, you have the freedom to
    improve and even totally revise implementations without fear of
    breaking running code. Because your application’s dependencies are
    spelled out explicitly and declaratively, less time will be lost
    diagnosing, identifying, and fixing issues that arise from missing
    or obsolete packages.

  • Operational Efficiency
    Using containers allows you to build components that run in isolated
    environments (limiting the ability of one container to accidentally disrupt the
    operation of another) while still being able to cooperatively share
    libraries and other common resources. This opportunistic sharing
    reduces memory pressure and leads to increased runtime efficiency.
    If you are running on EC2 (Docker is directly supported on the
    Amazon Linux AMI and on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and can easily be used with AWS OpsWorks),
    you can achieve isolation without running each
    component on a separate instance. Containers are not a replacement
    for instances; they are destined to run on them!

Container Computing Resources
In order to prepare to write this post, I spent some time reading up on container computing
and Docker. Here are the articles, blog posts, and videos that I liked the best:

Moving Forward

I am really excited by container computing and hope that you are as
well. Please feel free
to share additional
resources and success stories with me and I’ll update this post and
our new page accordingly.


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