By now, you probably know how popular Docker containers are with technical folks. But do you understand the business case for Docker? Do you know how containers help save companies money? If not, read on.
Docker became popular in its early days because it simplifies the work of developers and admins in important ways. Containers provide environment parity, which makes it easier to find bugs before they reach end-users. Containers also help developers to deploy software more quickly.
Docker and Cost Savings
But Docker's benefits do not end with technical teams. Containers also help to save cold, hard cash -- which is the big reason why companies are now adopting them.
How? Consider the following cost benefits of Dockerized infrastructure as compared to a legacy environment built using bare-metal servers or virtual machines:
- Docker is free and open source. While commercial implementations of Docker are available, the core Docker code is free for anyone to use. If you choose to set up and maintain your own Docker environment, you don't have to pay anything to anyone. In contrast, although some virtual machine platforms are free, such as KVM, others, like VMware, cost a lot of money to use at large scale.
- Docker uses resources more efficiently. Unlike virtual machines, Docker containers do not require you to run an entire guest operating system. Because your Docker environment does not waste system resources duplicating operating-system functions, more resources can be dedicated to running your actual app. Ultimately, this means you can run more apps with fewer physical servers when you use Docker.
- Docker makes it easier to pay only for what you use. Dockerized environments can scale easily in response to fluctuations in demand for an app. This is a cost advantage if you host your Docker environment in the cloud and configure your billing plan so that you pay only for the resources you consume. Instead of having to maintain a relatively unscalable cloud infrastructure comprised of virtual servers, and pay for server capacity that you aren't constantly using, you can use containers to build a cloud environment where your expenses scale with your service needs.
- Docker simplifies maintenance. As noted above, one of Docker's technical benefits is that it facilitates environment parity, which means development, testing and production environments remain consistent when you use Docker. That's not just a technical advantage. It translates to cost savings because consistent environments are easier to maintain with a smaller team. There are also fewer opportunities for making mistakes or introducing bugs that could end up costing your company money to fix.
- Docker facilitates faster software delivery. With a software delivery chain built using Docker containers, your IT team can roll out software updates more quickly, thanks to features like environment parity and the ability to automate software releases easily. This also translates to cost savings because it increases the productivity of your software engineers -- who don't work for free, after all. It allows you to get software updates to end-users more quickly, which gives you an advantage in the market.
If you want to understand why Docker is now becoming so popular in the enterprise, this is it. It's not just because programmers and system admins think Docker is cool. It's because Docker saves money.