Container Software Definition & Meaning

Container software breaks applications down into individual units and places them in containers, making them much easier to run and transport between systems or the cloud. This process, called containerization, was developed to allow more applications to run on the same server or transfer seamlessly to different environments. The application and all of the features it needs to run independently are packaged within the container. Containers can be prevented from interacting with each other; they stay separate.

Unlike a virtual machine, which has its own operating system (OS), containers all run independently on the same operating system. Virtual machines are heavier and consume more energy than containers. Because they’re more lightweight, more containers can run on one OS without bogging it down.

Container management software can be used to create and manage containers and choose applications to isolate, move, divide or combine. The software can decide where containers should best run and when they need to be destroyed. Security management is also an important feature of container software: the software should ensure that the operating system is secure for running containers, and it should also run an intrusion prevention system (IPS) on every operating system that runs containers.

Popular container management software

Some container software programs integrate with each other as well as with other applications. They provide organization and security to containers and the operating systems on which they run. Popular container solutions include:

  • Kubernetes
  • Docker
  • Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)
  • Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
  • Apache Mesos
  • Microsoft Azure Container Instances

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