DevOps Containers & Containerization: The Ultimate Guide

If you've spent any amount of time learning about DevOps and DevOps processes, you've likely heard the term “container” thrown around.

But what are DevOps containers? And how can they add to your workflow?

In this Instatus guide, we'll cover containers and containerization, including how they work, why organizations use them, and how to get started with containers.

So, if you're ready to dive in, let's start with the basics!

What Are DevOps Containers?

Containers are a key piece of the DevOps puzzle.They're self-contained packages of software that include all the components needed to run a piece of code or an application in any environment—executables, libraries, configuration files, and other resources

The goal is to make sure that the containerized application can be run in any environment you need them to—whether that's on a server, in the cloud, or even on your local machine.

Containerization vs. Virtualization

Containerization and virtualization might sound like pretty much the same thing. And while they do share some similarities, there are key differences between the two:

  • System Resource Usage: Virtualization creates a complete virtual machine, which can be pretty resource-intensive. Containerization uses less system resources since it only runs the required components.
  • Portability: Virtual machines are tied to the host computer, while containers are completely independent and can be moved from one environment to another.
  • Security: Containers are isolated from the underlying host system, while virtual machines are on a shared platform with other applications.

What Kinds of DevOps Containers Are There?

There are a few different types of DevOps containers you might use, depending on your needs:

  • System Containers: System containers provide a base OS layer on which you can build and run applications. This makes it easier to create and manage multiple environments and quickly deploy new applications.
  • Application Containers: Application containers are focused on running specific applications and making sure they work in all environments. They have everything you need to run the application, including files and libraries.
  • Sandbox Containers: Sandbox containers are designed to provide developers with a secure environment for testing out code and ensuring it works properly before going into production.

Examples of DevOps Container Tools


Docker is an open-source tool that helps DevOps teams build, deploy and manage lots of applications across different environments with ease.

It allows developers to securely test out code before putting it into production using sandbox containers, while system and application containers provide a base layer for running the apps themselves.


Containerd is a container runtime that provides an API and CLI for running, managing, and monitoring containers. It's designed to be lightweight and portable, making it ideal for cloud-native applications.Containerd also includes features such as image management, resource isolation, process execution control, health checks, logging drivers, and more.


Last, but (definitely) not least—Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a super popular container orchestration platform that enables developers to manage and deploy containerized applications quickly and easily.

Kubernetes simplifies the process of scaling, managing, and automating applications in both cloud-native and traditional environments. It provides an open-source platform that allows users to deploy, scale, monitor, and manage application containers.

If you want to learn more about this powerful tool, check out our introduction to Kubernetes monitoring.

Why Are DevOps Containers So Important?

Improved Security

We quickly covered the security benefits of containers already, but here's a more in-depth explanation.Because containers are isolated from the underlying host system, they can be locked down to protect against malicious attacks and other security threats. Containers also provide an extra layer of security by making sure only the necessary components are running, so they can't be exploited by attackers as easily.

Continuous Deployments

Containerization makes it easy to deploy applications quickly and efficiently. With containers, you can package up the application, its dependencies, and the configuration into a single package that can be deployed in any environment. This makes it easy to deploy applications quickly and continuously without having to worry about compatibility or configuration issues.

Increased Portability

Containers are completely independent of the underlying host system, which means they can be moved between different environments with ease. This allows for better scalability, since you can move containers to different machines as needed.

How To Use DevOps Containers

Container-Based Microservices Architecture

Container-based microservice architecture is everywhere—Spotify, Netflix, Uber, and countless other apps are powered by this technology.

In this architecture, each part of your application is broken down into small, self-contained services that run in their own containers. This makes it easier to manage, upgrade, and scale each part of your application independently.

The process is too technical to explain in-full here, but the basics are:

  1. Choose a container platform (e.g., Docker, Kubernetes, etc.)
  2. Divide your application into individual services based on their functionality (e.g., API, database, UI etc.)
  3. Package each service into its own container
  4. Deploy the containers to your platform of choice
  5. Monitor your microservicesThat last step is where we come in. With Instatus, you can create a beautiful status page that  allows you to track the health of your containers and microservices in real-time.

Give your support team a break by keeping your customers in the loop.

Multi-Tenancy Architecture

Multi-tenancy is a type of architecture where multiple users or organizations can access the same application, but each user or organization has their own private space. This allows for improved scalability and cost savings, since the same application can be used by tons of users at once.

Containers are the ideal way to implement multi-tenancy, as they provide the necessary isolation and resources for each user or organization.

To do this, you can package each user's or organization's application into a separate container and deploy it to the same platform. This ensures that each user has their own environment while still sharing the same hardware.

IoT Devices

IoT devices are typically resource-constrained, meaning they don't have the resources to run a full-blown application. Containers offer a lightweight, portable solution for running applications on these devices.

In a great presentation at DockerCon 2022, Mark Pons built and deployed a containerized application to a Raspberry Pi hi—and showed just how easy it is to expand the deployment scope to over 100,000 IoT devices.

Lift and Shift Existing Applications into Cloud Architectures

Oftentimes, organizations need to move their existing applications from on-premises servers to the cloud. This can be a tricky process—you need to make sure the application doesn't break during the more and that it works in the new environment.

Containerization is the best way to go about this, since it allows you to “lift and shift” your existing applications without having to worry about compatibility or configuration issues.

You can package your application into a container, deploy it to the cloud, and then test and monitor it to make sure it's running correctly. This makes the process much simpler and faster, while also ensuring your applications still work properly in the new environment.

Deploying Software to a Cloud Platform

Tons of cloud and DevOpsaaS platforms support containers. Whether it's AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform, containers universalize the deployment process.

You can package your app into a container, push it to the platform of your choice, and then easily manage it using a container orchestration tool. This makes it much simpler to deploy and scale applications, since all you have to do is update the containers.

Easy Configuration and DevOps Adoption

It's much simpler to set configurations with containers than with traditional applications. With containers, you can quickly set up resources and define the environment for each container without having to worry about compatibility or configuration issues.

As a result, containers make it much easier for DevOps teams to adopt and use the technologies they need. With containers, you can quickly set up a development environment with the right tools and libraries, making it easier to deploy applications faster.

DevOps Container Best Practices

Before we finish up this guide, let’s go over some best practices for making the most of containers and containerization:

  1. Inspect Container Images Early in Development: Inspecting your container images for potential risks and vulnerabilities should be done early on in development, rather than waiting until deployment.
  2. Use Persistent Data Storage: If your application needs to access data, you want to make sure it's stored persistently. Doing so ensures that your data won't be lost if the container is deleted or moved.
  3. Take Advantage of Container Orchestration Tools:  Container orchestration tools like Kubernetes make it easy to manage multiple containers at once. Using these tools makes deployment and management much simpler.
  4. Test Your Containers: Once your containers are deployed, you'll want to test them to make sure they're running correctly. This ensures that your applications are secure and functioning as expected.
  5. Ensure Observability: Lastly, you'll want to make sure you have the necessary monitoring and logging tools in place to ensure the observability of your containers. Instatus makes it easy to monitor, alert and analyze your containers for any changes or abnormalities.

Start Streamlining Your DevOps Workflows

DevOps is all about finding new, more efficient ways to work. Containerization is a great way to streamline the DevOps lifecycle and make deployment faster, easier, and more secure.

Implementing your applications in containers and taking advantage of container orchestration tools can help you deploy faster, reduce costs, and ensure the security of your production environment.

And while you're at it, why not take advantage of Instatus for monitoring and alerting your containers? Sign up for free today and see the benefits of a smarter status page firsthand!

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