Cargo containers completely transformed the shipping industry and enabled the global commerce experience of today. Similarly, software containers simplify application development and deployment, which helps enable the cloud-native software architecture that powers the modern technology we all rely on. Although you can get benefits from containerizing your applications after the fact, you get the most value when you take a container-first approach.
In this blog post, we discuss insights from Cracking the Code: Effectively Managing All of Those Applications, highlighting five benefits of embracing a container-first approach to software development.
- Consistent and reliable software performance
Inconsistency can be a major roadblock to progress. The all too familiar frustration of “it works on my machine” can cause software delivery delays and hinders collaboration. But with containers comes standardization. This ensures that software will perform consistently across the entire development process, regardless of the underlying environment.
Developers and infrastructure engineers also save a lot of time and cognitive energy on configuring and maintaining their environments and workstations. Containers have a small resource footprint, which means your infrastructure can do more with less. And, because each container includes the exact versions of software it needs, you don’t have to worry about conflicting dependencies.
- Fewer bugs
Bugs are the bane of every software developer’s existence. However, a container-first approach provides environmental parity. This means that the development, staging, and production environments remain consistent, reducing the likelihood of encountering bugs caused by disparities in underlying conditions. With containers, businesses can significantly reduce debugging time and enhance the overall quality of their software, leading to higher user satisfaction and a stronger competitive edge.
- Faster developer onboarding
The learning curve for new developers can often be steep, especially when dealing with complex software environments. Containers revolutionize developer onboarding by providing a replica of the exact environment in which an application will be tested and executed. This is irrespective of the developer’s local operating system or installed libraries. With containers, developers can hit the ground running, accelerating their productivity and contributing to the project’s success from day one.
- A more secure supply chain
The Consortium for Information & Software Quality estimates that poor software quality has cost the United States economy $2.41 trillion. Two of the top causes are criminals exploiting vulnerabilities and supply chain problems with third-party software. Containers can help.
Because the Dockerfile is a recipe for creating the container, you can use it to produce a software bill of materials (SBOM). This makes clear what dependencies — including the specific version — go into building the container. Cryptographically signed SBOMs let you verify the provenance of your dependencies, so you can be sure that the upstream library you’re using is the actual one produced by the project.
Using the SBOM, you can also monitor your fleet of containers for known vulnerabilities. When a new vulnerability is discovered, you can quickly tell which of your containers are affected, which makes the response quicker. Containers also provide isolation, micro-segmentation, and other zero-trust techniques, which reduce your attack surface and limit the impact of exploited vulnerabilities.
- Improved productivity for faster time-to-market
The standardization, consistency, and security containers bring directly impact software delivery time. With fewer issues to deal with (bugs, compatibility issues, maintenance, etc.), developers can focus on more meaningful tasks and ultimately deliver solutions to customers faster. All of this helps development teams work more efficiently, collaborate effectively, and deliver higher-quality software.
Dive deeper into the world of containers and the benefits of adopting a container-first model in your software development by downloading the full white paper, Cracking the Code: Effectively Managing All of Those Applications.