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How to create an efficient container-based architecture

Containers can introduce as many problems as they solve. In case you missed it, these four articles offer practical advice for consistent and structured container implementations.

Many IT teams rely on a container-based architecture to deploy applications, especially in distributed, cloud-based setups. Containers can consequently play a massive role in how efficient and secure an application is, or isn't, in operation.

In case you missed it, we've compiled four expert recommendations on how to best make use of the containers in your architecture.

Senior technology editor Stephen J. Bigelow opens this roundup by providing five steps architects can take to achieve effective container component management. In a second piece, Bigelow discusses three ways software teams can tighten container security and mitigate vulnerabilities.

Following that, seasoned development expert Tom Nolle explains how to build a container development kit and why it can benefit overall development and testing processes. Finally, Nolle returns to stress the importance of consistency in a container ecosystem and provide four steps to carry out that standardization process.

Manage container components for maximum efficiency

Containers are often an ideal deployment option for modern applications, and that usually leads to what's called a layered approach for a container-based architecture. This approach builds and structures containers by loading files on top of an initial base image file.

But in cases like these, components can add up quickly. If teams do not carefully manage the numerous container components at play, then issues can arise that counteract the whole purpose of using a layered approach: efficiency.

Bigelow provides advice to help mitigate some of the most prevalent container component errors. These five practices center on application allocation, proper naming conventions, build cache management, handling container shutdown and container image optimization.

Three ways to secure containers

Unmanaged container components can not only slow down performance, but they can also cause security problems. A single container often houses several different images, components and other varying elements, and each has its own unique vulnerabilities. Depending on the size of your container architecture, it can be easy to neglect these proliferated components and insufficiently manage them.

In this article, Bigelow provides counseling on how to prevent the three primary threats that result from mismanaged container components. To eliminate container component-related security issues, check out Bigelow's advice on container image attack surfaces, public image use and privilege management.

The benefits of a container development kit

Using container development kits (CDKs) offers another way to get the most out of containers. Essentially, a CDK sets developers up to create applications for containers and then test them in an environment similar to the deployment environment.

In this piece, Tom Nolle defines exactly what a CDK is and provides instructions on how you can build your own CDK instead of purchasing one offered by a vendor. Also, you'll learn how the support of an overall container orchestration tool, like Kubernetes or Apache Mesos, can help optimize the ability of your CDK to provide flexibility in development and testing efforts.

How container ecosystem consistency pays off

Another way to get the most efficiency out of a container deployment is to make sure that each of the organization's applications is uniformly structured to follow the same practices and use the same resources. In this final piece, Nolle offers four tips that focus on hosting, orchestration, connectivity and work distribution techniques related to the deployment and ongoing support and management of a container-based application architecture.

When all of your team's applications deploy in a standardized way using a homogenous set of tools and resources, Nolle argues that it will result in streamlined operations practices. Discover why Nolle believes that the efforts that an organization takes to have standardized container environments across applications will pay off in the long run.

This was last published in April 2019

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