What are containers in IT?

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What are containers in IT?

What are containers in IT and how do they work? How do containers differ from VMs and what advantages do they offer? What options do I have to manage my containers? In this article we will go into these questions in more detail and try to give you a closer look at containers.

What are containers?

Containers in IT are comparable to freight containers in logistics. The containers in IT are filled with an application and all its components, so that this application can be executed at any time and from any location. Containers in IT are thus a lighter visualization compared to conventional VMs.

How do containers work?

Containers make applications more independent of the environment in which they are running. They act like a virtual machine (VM). While a VM contains a complete operating system and applications, Containers share an operating system kernel with other Containers. Each application is given only one new user space and thus a completely isolated environment. Containers therefore consume considerably fewer resources such as computing power, main memory and storage space compared to VMs. And it’s all about megabytes in containers compared to gigabytes in VMs. Therefore, many more containers fit on a server than virtual machines. In addition, containers are ready for use more quickly: While VMs sometimes take a few minutes to start up, applications in containers are available almost immediately.

Differences between VM & Container

Virtual machine:

  • Includes applications and the complete operating system
  • A hypervisor like VMware ESXi takes care of virtualization
  • Multiple VMs run isolated from each other on one physical server


  • Contain applications and only the necessary operating system components like libraries and binaries
  • The operating system with the container engine takes care of the virtualization
  • Several containers run isolated from each other on one operating system

Container Management

To manage a large number of containers efficiently, an orchestration solution such as Amazon ECS or Amazon Fargate is required. These solutions take over the optimal management of your containers for you and react automatically to load changes.

Advantages Container

  • significantly more efficient and resource-saving than VMs
  • Portability
  • platform-independent
  • Upscalability
  • prompt availability
  • easy administration through orchestration solutions

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