5 Practical Uses for Docker Containers

Docker is an open source platform for deploying applications in bundles called containers. At the heart of most Docker containers is a lightweight Linux server running in a virtualized environment.

Are there any real use cases for Docker Linux containers? Let’s find out.

Why use Docker?

Docker is a powerful technology that has dramatically changed the DevOps industry and IT in general. It is easy to set up, safe and reliable. Additionally, Docker images are self-contained and do not affect the host operating system.

Unlike virtual machines, Docker is relatively lightweight and only includes the basic requirements of an operating system to get you started. Let’s look at some practical use cases for Docker.

1. Deploy the software

The advantage of deploying applications in Docker containers is that all configuration and dependencies are packaged within the container. This makes it easy to deploy and transfer applications without configuring a host PC or server. The only requirement is that the server or PC has Docker installed.

You can deploy more complex applications using Kubernetes (K8s) or Docker Swarm for better resiliency and scalability.

Docker Hub contains a large number of public images for most mainstream applications, such as Apache server or Nginx that you can use.

2. Run a lightweight Linux distribution

linux docker image on docker hub

As highlighted earlier, Docker containers are similar to virtual machines, but lighter. This allows you to use Linux Docker images instead of full-fledged virtual machines in most cases.

Docker Hub contains a large collection of Docker images for most major Linux distributions. The Linux Docker image only meets the basic requirements of the operating system. For example, the Alpine Linux image is only about 3MB in size.

You can install software and customize Docker containers as you would on any Linux server. This provides a great learning platform for understanding how Linux works under the hood.

Docker is ideal for testing because containers are easy to set up and destroy. Nothing that happens on the container will affect your host OS.

3. Managed Servers

Just as Docker containers are lightweight, they are also robust enough to host server utilities.

You can use a Docker container as a web server or a file server. Nginx Docker containers are also widely used to create reverse proxy servers.

You can use Docker containers to host and create your own virtual private network (VPN). A VPN essentially allows you to securely access your device from anywhere through a tunnel.

4. Create a custom Linux image

A Docker image consists of application or service layers. The public images available on Docker Hub give you a good base to build upon.

Take Ubuntu Image as an example. You can install various network security utilities and penetration tools, and create your own safe test images. You can then make your image public or private.

Docker images are very easy to customize, distribute and share. You can host your images on Docker Hub, or use a private repository on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure. No matter what your needs are, you can easily create your own unique images to solve your problems.

5. Create a development environment

One of the most challenging things in software development, especially for complex projects, is setting up or creating a development environment.

Some development environments are very complex and require a lot of dependencies and configuration. Using Docker, you can package all of this into a single image and easily share it with your development team.

You can also use Docker to emulate or run other software environments. This saves you time by eliminating the need for developers to install software and perform additional configuration. All they need to do is run a preconfigured Docker image.

Get started with Docker Linux containers

Docker is a powerful technology that can be used to perform various tasks. It’s strong, safe, lightweight, and best of all, it’s easy to set up.

Start using Docker today and enjoy the benefits it has to offer. It will revolutionize your workflow.

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