Software container is used for maintaining various software within a single repository. Container helps in isolating the data and application from other existing applications. Main objective of a container is to separate application from the network infrastructure and operating system. It is integrated within the kernel of the operating system and performs virtualization of the instance of that particular application. Software containers make sure that any particular software would run properly after they are moved from one computing environment to the other.
Containers have gained immense popularity during recent years due to the reduced need of using a licensed operating system for each application stored in repository. Previously, all the software applications were run on a separate operating system, this new feature of containers enables the application to manage itself and receive only those resources which are needed by it. Also, software containers provide security from other existing applications and their harmful resources.
Vendors are competing to fill the gaps in container use, which includes security, networking, data services and management and orchestration. Increasing number of open source software projects and commercial backing received by these projects is driving the market. Open source community efforts are preferred compared to the vendor specific tools and services. Software container market has high potential to grow in the future as new technologies are emerging to improve the current architecture of containers.
Partnerships and co-operation between the vendors and service providers in the software container market are expected to fulfill the growing demands of implementation and support from the enterprise segment. Startups and new entrants are integrating with the big players to use the existing channels and provide innovative solutions for software container requirements. Software containers are a complete solution for changing computer environments as they store the entire runtime environment required for an application or software such as the libraries, configuration files, dependencies and other binaries. It has increased the convenience for enterprises and is the main reason behind their increasing adoption.
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Containers provide lightweight and efficient services compared to virtualization technology. Containers have a single operating system which they share with other containers using kernels. It results in low consumption of resources compared to virtualization. Size of the container is only in tens of gigabytes whereas size of the virtual machine including its operating system could be up to several gigabytes. Due to the smaller size of containers, server can store large number of containers compared to a few virtualization machines. Also, boot time is reduced significantly with the help of containers. These advantages of software containers over virtualization technologies are increasing their popularity and driving the demand. However, the security capabilities of the containers could be questioned as they are not able to provide the same level of isolation provided by hardware virtualization. Innovative technologies are being implemented to improve the security capabilities of the software containers.
The software container market is divided on the basis of applications which are monitoring and logging, security, storage and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), management and orchestration, networking and data management and services. Furthermore, on the basis of geography, software container market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. Major players associated with the software container market include CoreOS, Inc., Docker Inc., Codenvy, Inc. etc.