Top container software solutions 2021

Container Software provides an environment for containerized applications that can be run with a wide variety of functions, including storage, automation, and management. By isolating applications from the environment, containers and container software provide more flexibility for data center workloads: they can run on more servers.

Containerization, which has grown in popularity in recent years, is another step in creating agility in data centers. The faster workloads can be moved to environments that best support them, the more efficient the data center and business can be.

The Open Container Initiative (OCI) is a project to create container specifications so organizations can use containers without lock-in or fluctuation. Such a standard makes containers more universal and flexible. Many large technology companies, including some that provide container services, have sponsored the OCI.

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Differences between container solutions

Container software solutions differ slightly in intent. A container engine is software that contains and executes containers. Docker offers container engines. A container orchestration platform or system provides automation, health checks, and additional management functions. Kubernetes is one of the best examples. It handles multiple deployments and clusters and automates container behavior based on application needs in data centers.

Also read: Implement storage automation in data centers

Managed container platforms include as-a-service solutions that typically run in cloud environments. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), one of the Google Cloud solutions, is an example of a container management environment.

Containers vs. virtual machines

Virtual machines started the application Virtualization Trend. Containers continue and improve in some situations. Virtual machines require a hypervisor to run on a server; each virtual machine has its own operating system. Instead, containers share the server’s operating system or kernel.

For businesses that need to isolate applications and run them on a large number of computers, containers are a better choice. Container solutions also differ in how many tasks they manage, so organizations can choose which software is best for their application management needs.

How to choose container software

When choosing a suitable container solution, consider the following questions:

  • How much management do you need for your containers? Do you have a small company and would like to take care of a large part of the administration yourself or do you need almost everything to be automated?
  • Which integrations are most important to you? Once you know the other features that you want besides your container solution, such as: security or storage, see what solutions they offer.
  • Does the container software comply with the OCI standards? This may not be a must, but it is good to look ahead so that the containers you are using will be widely available in the future.

Best container software solutions

The following software selections include solutions for container engine, container orchestration and container management.


Docker is a container engine software solution released under the Apache License 2.0 to help developers and set containerization standards. Docker Desktop enables Mac, Windows, and Linux users to run containers on desktop computers. Desktop users have access to Snyk, a container security program that performs vulnerability scans on containers.

Docker Hub is a repository for finding and sharing container images. Users can push and drag or upload and download images and participate in public and private repositories. Docker Hub is a useful resource for developing open source and community applications.

Swarm is a Docker function for managing clusters of Docker engines. Swarm offers replicated or global services: In the case of replicated services, the swarm manager transfers tasks (so-called replicas) to the nodes; In global services, only one task is specified per node that can process them.

Docker also provides images, software that helps users create containers through code and details on how to run the container.

Also read: What is Docker Storage? Exploration of container storage


Kubernetes logo.

Originally developed by Google Teams, Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration platform that was released in 2013. Kubernetes can be integrated with other container management systems. It automatically updates applications and configurations, but if this automatic rollout causes problems, it can roll back the change. Kubernetes balances loads between pods (containing multiple containers) and automatically places containers based on resource needs.

Kubernetes displays users’ node capacity and reliability – what the nodes can currently do and what their health status is. It shows whether a node is healthy enough to accept pods. Nodes have IP addresses and pods can also receive individual IP addresses. Kubernetes offers self-healing functions: Containers that do not meet the specified integrity standards of a user die, containers that fail are restarted and Kubernetes plans or replaces containers if one of the nodes that supports them dies.

Kubernetes is able to provide storage volumes such as AWS, Portworx, Gluster and Fiber Channel storage on its pods.

Amazon ECS

AWS logo for Amazon ECS.

Amazon Elastic Container Service is a managed container orchestration service that integrates with other AWS programs. Integrated with ECS is Amazon Fargate, which scales and manages the infrastructure users need for containers, servers and their security. ECS Anywhere provides an Amazon control plane for users to manage their containers on-site; AWS Systems Manager integrates with Anywhere to secure these connections.

ECS uses task definitions to specify details about container requirements through certain parameters such as startup type and logging configuration, e.g. B. Memory and CPU capacity. Users can update containers by uploading a new version of a task definition.

ECS supports Docker containers; Customers can also use Docker Hub and third-party hosted Docker image repositories. ECS is also compatible with Windows containers.

Google Kubernetes Engine

Google logo for Google Kubernetes Engine.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a container environment managed by Google, one of its cloud products. GKE has two modes: Standard, which allows the user to manage the nodes and run custom workloads, and Autopilot, which is a managed infrastructure for user clusters.

GKE can be used in conjunction with other Google services to create, test, and deploy new applications, and to manage those applications. Migrate for Anthos enables users to bring workloads into GKE containerized environments, a solution for moving applications from virtual machines to containers so that users do not have to manually modernize them.

Users only pay for currently running pods in GKE, so they are not billed for additional inactivity costs. GKE automatically scales pods, works automatically with available CPU and memory, and can also automatically scale clusters based on node pools.

Linux container

Linux container logo.

Linux Containers focuses on system containers that are similar to virtual machines but require less processing power and hardware simulation. It is a series of solutions that are intended to create vendor neutrality for Linux containerization. Linux Containers supports the following three projects:

  • LXC is an interface for Linux kernel containment functions; It has an API that users can use to manage their containers. LXC is intended to be similar to standard Linux installations, but without the additional kernel (which is required for VMs).
  • LXD is a container manager for system containers. It offers ready-made images based on a REST API and uses security features such as resource restrictions.
  • LXCFS is a userspace file system that increases the flexibility for running systemd-based containers. It’s free and released under the Apache 2.0 license.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure - Microsoft logo.

Microsoft Azure offers a cloud-based managed Kubernetes container orchestration system for developing and deploying applications in containers. Azure offers an arsenal of containerization options, but we’re focusing on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) for DevOps teams who need to build and scale applications. AKS provides users with an Azure portal that shows them their Azure Kubernetes environment, including the health status of the containers.

AKS provides DevOps teams with features like Visual Studio Code Kubernetes Tools, a Microsoft extension for Kubernetes apps and clusters. AKS gives users access to Azure Active Directory, a security feature for authenticating user identities and integrating identities into app development.

AKS is a good choice for testing and upgrading Kubernetes applications. Users can perform continuous integration and continuous deployment for AKS clusters.

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