Cloud containers are a type of software that simplifies the distribution of code. Before, software and its operating system had to be transported. Now, cloud containers pack code and dependencies into a single container that can operate in any environment. In addition, cloud containers are small, therefore multiple are able to function on one computer.

Why is this important? Containers weren’t used in the software industry as they are today.  Previously, virtual machines were the leading software, as they enabled one server to run multiple separate applications without interacting with each other. The issue with virtual machines is that they operate on software systems that imitate the computer’s original system, slowing down the overall function of the computer. 

Cloud containers function differently to virtual machines, as they only possess the application and resources they need, opposed to an entire operating system like virtual machines. This allows users to install multiple containers on one server. Additionally, the main server is the sole operating system and containers communicate with it. The absence of an entire operating system reduces the container size and keeps the cost of running containers low. Virtual machines require a hypervisor as a divider between the guests and their host. Whereas containers use an engine. 

So what are cloud containers?

They are a lightweight VM alternative. Why use them? Cloud containers ensure developers that their software will function anywhere. Containers commission microservices, which distributes applications into smaller parts that are able to communicate with one another. This permits groups to work on different aspects of an application, without majorly adjusting the applications and how they correspond, exclusively from one another. 

This speeds up the software development process, while simplifying the testing process. Cloud containers can operate a multitude of different applications. Nonetheless, since they differ so greatly from virtual machines, earlier software that many enterprises still use today can’t process containers.