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The Difference Between Containerization and Virtualization

Software-defined, virtualized computing environments and containerization are revolutionizing the way of infrastructure management among organizations worldwide. While it was only possible to scale performance and capacity through new hardware in the past, now, organizations have more flexibility in expanding their infrastructure with virtualization and containerization.

Virtualization and containerization differ in several ways. One of the most significant differences in the way containers power virtualization of operating systems to run multiple workloads under a single operating system instance. On the other hand, virtualization technology powers organizations to meet the ever-expanding computing requirements without the need for constant investments in new hardware.

Difference Between Virtualization and Containerization

While virtualization delivers a complete virtual machine, containerization is a specialized form of virtualization. Containers isolate applications in their own virtualized environments, however, rather than driving their own operating systems (OS), they share components of physical servers’ OS. Many containers that run on a single server use the same OS, keeping their application data isolated.

Containers are easier to manage compared to virtual machines, as every container is not driving its own OS. This makes impediments such as installing patches and fixing bugs much easier to resolve. On the other hand, it also implies that problems with one system can hamper multiple containers. However, containers are lightweight in nature. This makes them easier to move, which is much more difficult with virtual machines.

One of the key aspects that differentiate containerization from virtualization is the temporary behavior of containers. Several copies of any container can coexist in a system such as orchestration. If any container fails, it can be removed and replaced, without any impact or change in services. Older versions of the containers can coexist with newer versions.

In case any operation fails, it is easy to remove and replace the new versions as per requirements. There is a huge difference in the scalability of containerized workloads and virtual workloads. The containers comprise services that are radical in nature. However, these services can include a web server such as a virtualization workload system that is capable of predicting the requirement for scaling out containers based on traffic.

Comparison Table of Virtualization and Containerization

Domain Virtualization Containerization
Segregation Ensures total separation from the host operating system and other virtual machines (VMs). Generally offers a less robust security boundary compared to a VM, providing lightweight isolation from the host and other containers.
Operating System Operates with a full operating system, encompassing the kernel, demanding increased system resources such as CPU, memory, and storage Operates with the user-mode segment of an operating system and can be customized to include only essential services for your application, utilizing fewer system resources.
Guest compatibility Executes virtually any operating system within the virtual machine. Operates on the identical operating system version as the host.
Deployment Implement the deployment of individual virtual machines using Hypervisor software. Deploy single containers using Docker or deploy multiple containers using an orchestrator like Kubernetes.
Storage Utilize a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) for local storage, suitable for a single virtual machine, or employ a Server Message Block (SMB) file share for storage shared among multiple servers. Opt for local disks for local storage on a single node or leverage SMB for shared storage across multiple nodes or servers.
Load balancing Achieve load balancing for virtual machines by distributing them across other servers within a failover cluster. An orchestrator can autonomously initiate or halt containers on cluster nodes to handle fluctuations in load and ensure availability.
Networking Utilizes virtual network adapters. Utilizes an isolated perspective of a virtual network adapter, resulting in slightly reduced virtualization.

Which Is Better – Virtual Machines or Containers

Choosing between Virtual Machines and containers depends on the objective of organizations. Virtual machines empower existing tasks at hand for maintaining consistency in environments isolated with a layer of reflection. Also, this reflection enables separating servers into VMs, which can run distinctive working frameworks.

Container innovation gives an elective Virtualization strategy, wherein a solitary working framework can run a broad spectrum of users on the cloud. Another approach to choose from VMs and containers is based on the fact that VMs run distinctive working frameworks under a single process hub. On the other hand, containers offer the feasibility to virtualize working frameworks.

To Conclude

According to Gartner, over 75% of organizations worldwide will run containerized applications by the end of 2022. It also states that nearly 60% of organizations will deploy data virtualization as a key style of delivery in the data integration architecture. New computing abstractions have changed the way enterprises consume virtual machines. Technology leaders are leveraging this to align use cases with appropriate technologies and benefit from innovations.

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