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5 Steps To Containerize An Application In Development

Many companies are learning how to containerize applications in order to streamline development processes. As a developer, you have likely heard of containers before but may not know exactly how they can improve your operations. Containers allow you to run software reliably even when you transfer it between computing environments. The reliability of container technology enables you to reduce the number of problems that occur during the development process.

For example, in traditional QA environments, pre-DevOps tools, much of the testing was conducted manually. Because of this, the software was prone to human error and there was always potential for bugs. With the proliferation of container technology, automation plays a much bigger role.

This, in turn, increases productivity among teams. If you want to boost efficiency and improve your software development processes, read this post to learn how to containerize an application.

Determine If The App Can Be Containerized

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Begin by determining if your application can be containerized. The best way to identify whether an app can be containerized or not is to check if it is packaged as a single binary or JAR file. Single binary and JAR files are the simplest applications to containerize. These types of apps are particularly flexible, which simplifies the conversion process.

Their flexible nature also makes the deployment process easier once they are containerized. Therefore, single binary and JAR files are ideal applications for containerizing. Determine if your app can be containerized seamlessly before continuing on in the containerization process.

There are other steps you can take to determine whether an app can be containerized as well. If your application is stateless, it means that they locally store configuration information alongside a temporary cache, and those tiers can be peeled off for optimum flexibility.

If your applications are already a part of the continuous integration/continuous delivery program, consider migrating to a container platform, which may be easier. With this method, you can package your application into containers (more on that next) and deploy them across existing servers. Once the application is in solid working order, you can integrate container orchestration tools.

Choose A Containerization Platform To Install

If your application can be containerized, choose a containerization platform to install. One of the key factors to consider when choosing a container platform is the available integrations. There are several container integrations like JFrog that accelerate deployments and address bugs automatically.

These types of cloud solutions are among the most popular and advantageous integrations. Find a platform that can leverage these beneficial tools seamlessly. That way, you can not only containerize one application but deploy multiple efficiently.

Once you decide on a platform, install it and continue on to the rest of the application containerization steps. Furthermore, a solid container platform can support both Docker containers and Helm Chart repositories for Kubernetes deployments.

It will act as a single access point where you can organize and manage each of your Docker images and have reliable access to remote registries. If necessary, you can also find tools that support generic repositories that are not associated with specific package types.

Identify Persistent Data In Filesystem Locations

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Next, identify persistent data in your filesystem locations. This step is crucial to containerizing an application because you need to store persistent data outside of the container. Some applications write their data to specific paths.

You can usually find persistent data in these applications quickly. However, many apps store their persistent data throughout the entire filesystem. If your application intermingles data throughout your system, it can take hours to find every data location.

Fortunately, you can accelerate the process by modifying your application to write its data within a single tree. Identify persistent data in your filesystem to successfully containerize an application and improve your development processes.

Define A Configuration Method

Once you have identified the persistent data in your filesystem, define an enterprise-grade configuration method for your application. You have two options for configuring. Firstly, you can use an application-specific configuration file.

If you choose this method, you will need to document the format, locations, and fields yourself. This makes it a poor method for applications that span across various technologies. The second option you have is to use environment variables. This method is much simpler than the previous. All you need to do is use a code to store settings that differ between environments. Consider both methods to configure your application properly and proceed to containerize it.

Create An Image To Hold Your Application

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Finally, create an image to hold your application in. Begin by discovering your container platform’s file and command for building an image. If you are using Docker as your platform, the file that you will be using is Dockerfile and the command to use is “docker build”.

You will access a working folder in your directory and create a Dockerfile in it. Then, open it and choose the appropriate run time for the application that you want to containerize. Save the file and run the “docker build” command to create an image. Once you have an image, all you have to do is create a container to store it in. This completes the application containerization process.

Leading development teams use container technology to increase their productivity levels. In order to transition to this technology, you need to first determine if your application can be containerized. If your app can be containerized, choose a container platform that meets your team’s needs and install it. You may want to consider trialing different containerization tools to determine which meets your needs. Talk to your dev team to gather input on their personal experiences with various programs.

Then, identify the persistent data locations in your filesystem so you can store it outside of the container. After you complete that step, define the best configuration method for your application. The last step is to create an image to hold your application. These steps set you up for a successful application containerization process. Follow them to improve your development processes today.

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