If you've been curious about container technology lately, you're far from being alone. Many companies have begun to show more ardent interest in this new variation on virtual machines. What's interesting about containers is while they're usually compared to VM's, they're actually quite different.
As a basic definition, containers could also be called operating system virtualization where the virtual layer runs as an application within one OS. When combined with a cloud platform, you don't have to worry about investing in multiple servers and other infrastructure to run your applications.
While they're an exciting prospect for helping bring speed and efficiency to companies, it's worth looking back at where container technology came from. It goes back further than you think, despite Linux turning it into how we know it in the 21st century.
What might surprise you is how long the container timeline is. Only recently has it finally received more notice in how it changes the way businesses run and software developers work.
Here's a history of container technology, how far it's gone, and where it's going.
The Very Beginning of Containers
You might be surprised to learn the earliest versions of container technology date back to 1979. Unix V7 usually gets the credit for the earliest representation through chroot system call, creating early process isolation.
The Unix operating system was going strong then, though it quickly went more commercial when AT&T bought them out in the early 1980s. Many consider Unix V7 the last true Unix of the era, though that early formation of container technology went stagnant for a while.
Not until 2000 did containers become a major technology. At this point, FreeBSD jails came to prominence via Derrick T. Woolworth at R&D Associates. Woolworth created the basic technologies behind containers, yet was still quite rudimentary.
A year later, things would change dramatically thanks to Linux.
The Linux VServer and Other Developments in the 2000s
In 2001, Linux VServer took from the above jail system and enhanced it by securely partitioning resources on any computer system. You could still get experimental patches of this in recent years, yet it was far from the only container option available through the 2000's.
Linux kicked off a long wave of other container technologies, including Solaris containers in 2004. Open VZ was yet another in this container string and somewhat similar to Solaris.
Google got into the container business by 2006 with their Process Containers. One year later, they renamed this Control Groups and added to the Linux Kernel. It was proof of how much Google contributed to evolving containers by merging with previous systems.
Throughout the 2010s, you saw container companies like LXC, Warden, and LMCTFY try to provide containers to the masses. Not until 2013, however, did containers finally start to become popular through Docker.
Moving Containers Forward
No doubt you've heard of Docker, which is currently the most popular container service in the world. It started in 2013 as a PaaS called dotCloud, then renamed to its current brand name. What made Docker stand apart is how they designed their own system to manage containers.
Today, the use of containers is growing every day thanks to the continuously evolving technology. They allow organizations to get more out of their infrastructure by providing flexibility and scalability. According to a report from the Cloud Foundation's Global Perception Study, we are only seeing the beginning of the technological shift to adoption of containers.
Containership, a featured speaker at 2015 TechCrunch's Disrupt NY, has now moved into the forefront of advancing containers to businesses who need something flexible and low-cost. Using the Containership Cloud platform, you can automate any cloud service while being able to easily manage apps and services.
Plus, you'll be able to re-imagine web hosting for your team of developers without having to manage multiple servers.
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