What is Docker and what are the benefits of using it?

The graphic shows the Docker logo of a whale with containers.

Before platforms like Docker were developed, launching an application involved buying a suitable server, installing Linux and configuring LAMP. Developing the application forced the preparation of another environment to prevent failure due to, among other things, too much traffic on the server. The Docker project allowed more efficient management of the whole process and popularized the new technology, becoming a runtime area where a developer can work on his software more efficiently.

Docker - basic features and advantages of the platform

Docker is an open platform with which you will take care of a number of processes related to the development of your application in an easier and faster way. The environment allows IT professionals to create, test and deploy software, and everything is based on so-called Docker containers. Each of them has all the essential factors needed for more efficient operation, such as application code, system libraries, system tools and execution environment. They can be thought of as complete boxes. The platform allows you to efficiently manage your application in any environment without worrying about failure. Its performance can be compared to a virtual machine, and it offers even more favorable performance, as containerization provides better portability and performance. Docker is installed on servers, where it can be controlled with simple commands that build, pause or start containers. The Docker environment thrives on open source principles and its creation has greatly helped popularize the technology, thus supporting developers throughout the application creation cycle.

Characteristics of containers in the Docker environment

The rise in popularity of containers comes at a time when organizations have decided to get more involved in cloud technology. As has already been established, they support IT professionals in the production of applications. They are a Linux-based process and each of them contains the appropriate environment needed for the entire software development cycle. Users can interact with them, while administrators specify conditions and functions through commands on the Docker platform. Interestingly, building a container can be done without the help of Docker, by working directly with the features that Linux and other operating systems offer us. Despite this, containerization using the Docker environment is faster, simpler and, above all, more secure. The platform has managed to improve the concept of operating system virtualization by commissioning software that automates the deployment of applications into containers. What are the characteristics of containers? Each is isolated from each other, contains its own library, tools and relevant configuration files, and is able to communicate with subsequent ones through properly defined channels. Their undoubted advantage is the low resource consumption due to the support of a single operating system kernel and the lightness of containers. The superiority to traditional virtual machines also manifests itself in their portability and the fact that running a container requires any computer with the Docker platform, the execution environment. The isolation of Docker containers allows you to run several versions of a single application without interfering with each other. One of the biggest advantages of containers is that they can be turned on and off seamlessly. Restarting them doesn't require multiple processes, as they have been invented in such a way that they can be created frequently and with different durations depending on the developer's needs.

‍What does Docker consist of? The components needed to create the environment

Docker containers, or separate environments for individual applications, are not the only term you will encounter when working with the platform. To get them, you will need, among other things, Docker images (Docker images). What are the other components of Docker?

  • Dockerfile - is one of the most important files for building Docker images (Docker images). It is a text file that has the instructions needed to create an image. The list may seem quite large, but an important advantage is that it works independently of the infrastructure, content and other variables in the environment;
  • Docker images (Docker images) - it is through them that containers are created. They act as a pattern or template, which we will obtain through Dockerfile. One image can be used to obtain several containers. It also contains a specification that defines the conditions under which the container will be able to operate and how;
  • Docker compose - launches a more powerful environment for your application running on multiple containers. It gives you the ability to create, enable, pause or rebuild services from the configuration level. With its help you can also track the status and log output of each running service;
  • Docker Engine (Docker engine) - acts as the core of Docker, the primary open source tool that creates and runs containers. It prospers as a client-server application;
  • Docker desktop - this is where all the components are contained and creates a functional environment for the user. The area for creating and sharing containerized applications and microservices must be properly prepared and friendly;
  • Docker Hub - is the largest community and repository where you can store Docker images. It allows you to share, download and use images. Docker Hub also contains images from official vendors, public projects and individual IT professionals.

Microservices in Docker

An individual application is composed of a set of tasks that are quite narrow in scope. Microservices are created to complete several minor tasks. The whole procedure involves splitting an incoming request into many smaller, specialized, requests. These are then transported to so-called microservices running, as independent processes. Microservices can be deployed without interfering with other services, allowing more efficient application deployment and testing. Containers, which are separate, controllable and portable areas, are an excellent environment in which we do not need to interfere with other containers. This environment is increasingly being used for the implementation of microservices-based applications. Docker provides developers with an easy way to package software into containers, each with core components that combine source code and operating system libraries - allowing microservices to run in any environment. The Docker platform provides microservices with considerable community support. The lightness of the environment and its economy relative to resources are other advantages that place Docker above virtual machines.


Docker is an impressive tool in terms of automating the application deployment process. With it, you will create a unified development and production area, which will facilitate continuous integration and deployment. IT professionals can run multiple separated applications using a single host, which is a good solution for microservices. Separate runtime environments can also work for the security of your data. Containerization is also possible these days on Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS - containers can be run on any operating system. The platform has become very popular with developers in recent years, who are eager to encapsulate lines of code for later deployment on any server.