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5 December 2023 - 6 minutes

Docker for DevOps

Discover a fantastic tool for DevOps teams called Docker.

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Working in the tech world as a web developer, one of the most important strategies that allows professionals to optimize their time and efforts is DevOps. Thanks to this methodology, web developers can automate much of their workload while completing other pending tasks on their to-do list.

Since DevOps is the foundation behind much of the work that tech professionals carry out, the tools that help run DevOps are equally as important to teams, such as Docker. Before diving deeper into the automation that Docker provides, let’s pull back the curtain and make sure we fully understand DevOps. 

What is DevOps?

You may have read DevOps and thought about DevOps’ meaning; DevOps is a portmanteau composed of two separate words: DEVelopment and OPerations. Both are two different parts of the application creation process and were previously siloed, or divided into separate teams. However, oftentimes on a DevOps team, responsibilities are shared amongst members and can be either development or operation oriented. Some of the responsibilities include the following:

  • CI/CD pipelines: continuous integration and deployment are the backbone of DevOps since it allows DevOps teams to build, test, and deploy automatically.​​ Team members work with a singular repository where they can insert code, test it, and merge everything into the already established code. Delivery and deployment is automated and web developers spend minimal time and exert less effort on tedious tasks.

  • Continuous feedback and communication: the team depends on constant communication to maximize their output, correct any mistakes, and inform everyone of the current status of the project. Since they share their responsibilities across the team, collaboration makes for an even greater final product. 

  • Cloud architecture: cloud architecture provides DevOps teams with a crucial tool: a provisional, scalable, and flexible space that they can manipulate easily and efficiently without a server. 

  • Cybersecurity measures: due to the frequency of cyber attacks, DevOps teams need to account for the possibility that their work isn’t tampered with; maintaining a strong cybersecurity framework and plan is essential. 

  • Infrastructure as code: one of the services of cloud computing is infrastructure as code and it is used in a variety of ways to support DevOps teams such as automation, error correction, running tests, infrastructure flexibility, and deployment and operations optimization. 

  • Continuous monitoring: although tests are run prior to deployment, DevOps teams are also required to monitor the status of the application in case there are any issues. Evidently automation handles a majority of the process but when problems occur, the team needs to handle it however they deem necessary. 

  • IT support: issues and problems are inevitable, and while monitoring is the first step to inform the team, the next step is to attack the problem and troubleshoot any customer issues.

Obviously DevOps teams have many duties to carry out and by working with so much technology, they need to embrace efficiency as an important value in balancing everything. Automation is a huge part of streamlining the process and taking some of the responsibility off of their shoulders without the possibility of human error. 

DevOps Automation

Web developers on DevOps teams are masters at the art of coding; however, their job depends on mastery of a crucial skill: automation. To complete the responsibilities mentioned above, many of them require automation to run while web developers work on another part of their project.

The following are benefits that come with the use of automation:

  • Efficiency and speed: the most obvious of the benefits is its clear aid in allowing web developers to leave some tasks to automated processes while they complete other work. In addition to freeing up time for web developers, automated processes complete the same task in a fraction of the time. 

  • Reduction of human error: as innovative and intelligent as humans are, we aren’t built to look at a screen for hours on end editing code. When we are completing long, tedious tasks, errors can occur easily and with the help of automation, these mistakes happen less frequently. 

  • Consistency: another key benefit of automation is that it is done consistently across all steps of the process, from development to deployment, and the continuous cycle of improvement on a project. 

  • Scalability and cost efficiency : when it comes to different scalable solutions, automation is capable of managing quick and efficient responses and consequently, in addition to reducing costs.

DevOps teams use automation to complete the following tasks:

  • Continuous integration

  • Continuous deployment

  • Infrastructure as code

  • Testing

  • Monitoring and logging

  • Security maintenance

  • Provisioning

  • Configuration 

Since DevOps entails operations in constant motion, teams employ a variety of programs and applications. 

DevOps Tools

A person is only as effective as the tools they have at their disposal and in the case of DevOps teams, they need to use several applications to complete their job. There are a wide variety of tools that they use to create their products including: 

  • Ansible

  • Jenkins

  • Terraform

  • Azure

  • Prometheus

  • Slack

  • Docker 

Each of these applications are run for different purposes, so they all are found as programs potentially found in their daily toolkit. One of applications that most stands out for DevOps teams is called Docker and is an integral part of the continuous integration and deployment pipeline. 

Docker for DevOps

When DevOps teams need to make a container and deploy applications, they run Docker. Docker is an open source platform and, as a result, can hold and run software consistently across several environments. Thanks to its ability to hold different types of code, libraries, system tools, and runtime, Docker can be used from the development stage until deployment of an application, making it an essential tool for web development across the board. 

Docker has many features such as:

  • Containers: as mentioned above, containers have the function of holding all parts of software, giving it a huge role in DevOps since they need a space for all their work. It would be considered a platform as a service and is a cloud computing software. Web developers use this software from the onset of a project in application development until the last phase of deployment.

  • Images: when starting a project on Docker, the user starts with a template of the structure and this is called the image. They are similar to the blueprints of a building and give the platform a set of rules for running the application.

  • Dockerfile: underneath the structure of an image, the dockerfile is all of the text that executes all the functions of the application. Without the dockerfile text, there is no image and it consists of all the code that will determine the running of the application. 

  • Registry: upon creating a docker image, a web developer can share it with others through the registry and assist others in their projects. Both public and private registries exist and hold a great amount of image possibilities. 

Although these features sound complicated, you can easily learn Docker to meet the needs of your DevOps team. Thanks to these and other features, Docker provides DevOps teams with many benefits when creating their application. 

Advantages of Docker for DevOps 

There are a variety of benefits that DevOps teams receive when they choose Docker as their choice of containerization platform and include:

  • Consistency across environments: reducing deployment errors, Docker creates individual environments that encapsulate the entire environment for the entire process and eliminates the possibility of different results on devices.

  • Version control: containers such as Docker allow for various iterations and versions to be saved and changed when necessary. If there are any mistakes, you have direct access to the last version, facilitating issue correction.

  • Quick deployment and scalability: when issues occur, containers can be quickly turned off and on or even modified. Because of this ability, DevOps teams can confront problems quickly and efficiently when they know that there’s a problem. The application code may also need to be modified and the amount of space necessary reduced or increased. 

  • Resource efficiency: because Docker is more lightweight than traditional virtual machines, teams can optimize startup time, lower resource overhead, and allow multiple containers to run at once and as a result, DevOps teams can manage their resources more intelligently and efficiently.

To work with DevOps, you need many resources and tools to carry out all of your responsibilities; however, one that is essential is Docker. DevOps is a complicated methodology when first learning about how to run it and we understand your apprehension. Just remember that Docker is there to facilitate how you work, not make it harder and the more you master it, the easier the application creation process will be. 

If reading further into DevOps and Docker has piqued your interest, look no further than Ironhack to dive deeper into both of these topics. One of our newest courses is the DevOps and Cloud Computing Bootcamp where you’ll learn everything you need to know about starting your tech career in this incredible field. 

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