Advantages of Using Docker for Microservices
Gone are the days where there was essentially only one way to develop an application - as a massive entity known as a monolith. This technique certainly had its place in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, but that era has (thankfully) ended.s
It's been replaced by a variety of techniques, one of the most popular of which is undoubtedly the microservices architecture. But what impact do microservices have, and what role does Docker play in all of this? Read on to find out.
What is Docker?
At its core, Docker is a tool used to package and run an application in a "loosely isolated environment," also commonly referred to as a container. This level of isolation - coupled with the increased security that comes with it - allows developers to run a myriad of different containers at the same time, all on the same host.
In essence, it's a tool that was designed to make it easier than ever to create, deploy and even run applications, all by way of containers.
For perspective, containers allow a developer to "package" an application with all of the parts that it needs to operate successfully. This can include but is certainly not limited to aspects like libraries, other dependencies and more - all of which are then deployed as a single package to guarantee superior ease of use.
The alternative of this is essential to create a full operating system to support the application in question - something that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort that can otherwise delay the launch of an app significantly. A Docker container, on the other hand, comes with only the minimum set of the operating system software required for the app in question to run successfully - thus freeing up the invaluable time and energy of developers across the board to focus on those matters that truly need their attention.
What are Microservices?
To put it as simply as possible, the microservices architecture is one where applications are structured not in the monolithic style of yesteryear, but as a series of much smaller, more manageable, more independently deployable services.
Think about it like this: rather than spending the time and money to create one massive application that does 10 things, you instead design 10 smaller applications. Each one is developed totally independently of one another and can be tested and configured as needed. Then, all of those 10 things essentially "add up" to the same basic application that the larger one would be, albeit with a totally different structure at the heart of it. Navigating microservices can be a daunting task but things like OpenTelemetry can ease the task.