Announcement: SolusVM joins the Plesk family

SolusVM

Today we’re happily announcing a new member of the Plesk family: London-based SolusVM from OnApp. Thousands of service providers flock to use this virtual server management system that offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service hosting. And we believe this acquisition will boost Plesk’s offering in multiple ways. Read on to see how.

Who are SolusVM and OnApp?

SolusVM is a virtual private server (VPS) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) management system. It’s designed for cloud service providers, their resellers and end-customers. With a web-based and customizable UI to manage infrastructure, it integrates popular billing systems and supports several of the most widely used virtualization technologies. Learn more about SolusVM here.

OnApp provides software, services and expertise to help thousands of MSPs and telcos build and grow successful cloud services businesses. Their offerings include OnApp Cloud, OnApp for VMware, OnApp CDN, and the OnApp Federation. Find out more about OnApp here.

How will the SolusVM acquisition work?

Plesk is acquiring all SolusVM assets and will carry on its growth strategy. Thus, elevating it from a single server control panel to a future-proof cloud platform. We’ll provide both cloud service providers and web professionals a single pane of glass application that will become the future of WebOps. 

The SolusVM team, led by Phill Bandelow, will become an integral part of the growing Plesk R&D team. This acquisition will also propel forward development and innovation of the next version of SolusVM. 

 “We’re excited to join Plesk, and become part of a changing force in the hosting industry. SolusVM fits naturally into the growing Plesk portfolio, providing new and compelling opportunities for our customer base. They can now expect a faster pace of innovation while being able to access the WebOps services and automation that Plesk is known for.   

Phill Bandelow, SolusVM Team Lead.

Why is this good news for Plesk customers?

Because of this acquisition, our leading WebOps platform will now have a complete solution. It will allow total control over as many VPS accounts as your hardware and resources can support. Our services will also cover the complete spectrum of modern IaaS solutions. And finally, you can now access the widest portfolio of hosting solutions to run, automate and scale your apps, sites and businesses.

We’re very happy to have Solus Virtual Manager and their complete VPS management solution on board. SolusVM lets companies of any size manage virtual machines - from one central user interface, with security and ease. Firstly, makes it a breeze for service providers, resellers and end-users to provision, manage and sell virtual machines. Secondly, it’s the first choice for providing cloud-based infrastructure hosting, based on the most popular virtualization platforms, like Xen, KVM, and OpenVZ.

 Nils Hueneke, Plesk CEO

How does this positively impact Plesk partners?

Clients and partners will get the same excellent support, product development and relationships they had before. But now, we have combined skills, resources, products and services to provide a bigger, more complementary, end-to-end solution portfolio. Furthermore, we’ll help our clients leverage their IT investments in SolusVM, while adding the requirements to meet their business needs.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Or drop us a comment below for questions, or just to tell us what you think!

How to deploy Plesk Onyx on Amazon EC2

Plesk on AWS

In the latest Magic Quadrant report for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide, for the 6th straight year, Gartner placed Amazon Web Services in the “Leaders” quadrant and named AWS as having both the furthest completeness of vision and the highest ability to execute. Today, AWS provides a highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform in the cloud that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world.

What is AWS?

Amazon web services is the cloud computing platform by Amazon.com. Building and running your business starts with computing, whether you are building mobile apps, or running massive clusters to sequence the human genome. AWS has over 70 infrastructure services, such as computing power, storage options, networking and databases, delivered as a utility: on-demand, available in seconds, with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) forms a central part of Amazon Web Services, by allowing users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. EC2 encourages scalable deployment of applications by providing a web service through which a user can boot an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to configure a virtual machine, which Amazon calls an “instance”, containing any software desired.

A user can create, launch, and terminate server-instances as needed, paying by the hour for active servers – hence the term “elastic”. EC2 provides users with control over the geographical location of instances that allows for latency optimization and high levels of redundancy.

Amazon EC2Image: Amazon

AWS Global Infrastructure

AWS placed its data centers across 42 availability zones within 16 regions around the world: US West (Oregon, Northern California), AWS GovCloud, US East (Northern Virginia, Ohio), Canada (Central), South America (Sao Paulo), Europe (Ireland, Frankfurt, London), Asia Pacific (Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai) and China (Beijing). Each availability zone has at least one data center that has redundant power for stability, networking and connectivity.

AWS regionsImage: Amazon

Throughout the next year, the AWS Global Infrastructure will expand with at least five new Availability Zones in new geographic Regions: Ningxia in China and Paris in France.

Run any application

If you need to run any application, for example a WordPress website or control and manage server or cluster level functions such as scaling and deployment, well then AWS EC2 is the best! It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

  • You provision, scale, and manage server capacity. EC2 offers a wide selection of instance configurations optimized for every use case
  • You control the server, OS, and deployment software
  • You have flexible payment options to meet your business needs, including enabling BYOL

Benefits

    • Inexpensive

Amazon EC2 passes on to you the financial benefits of Amazon’s scale. You pay a very low rate for the compute capacity you actually consume. See Amazon EC2 Instance Purchasing Options for a more detailed description.

  • Elastic Web-Scale Computing

    Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously. Of course, because this is all controlled with web service APIs, your application can automatically scale itself up and down depending on its needs.

  • Designed for use with other Amazon Web Services

    Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Domain Name System (Amazon Route 53), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) to provide a complete solution for computing, query processing and storage across a wide range of applications.

    Tip: Should you decide to make the move to the cloud with the Amazon Route 53 service, we recommend that you use the Plesk Onyx extension for automated provisioning of DNS zones to Amazon Web Services.

  • Reliable

    Amazon EC2 offers a highly reliable environment where replacement instances can be rapidly and predictably commissioned. The service runs within Amazon’s proven network infrastructure and data centers. The Amazon EC2 Service Level Agreement commitment is 99.95% availability for each Amazon EC2 Region.

  • Secure

    Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon VPC to provide security and robust networking functionality for your computing resources.

Simplify Server Administration

  • Managing Infrastructure

    For all server needs – small businesses and IT Pros that want to host a few websites, web developers and designers that need to host dozens of websites, shared web hosters that can grow to serve millions of websites – Plesk Onyx on AWS is the ideal solution for simplifying server administration, while scaling to meet your specific needs.

  • Easy to Start

    Quickly get started with Amazon EC2 by visiting AWS Marketplace to choose preconfigured software on Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). You can quickly deploy this software to EC2 via 1-Click launch or with the EC2 console.

AWS MarketplaceImage: Amazon

What is Plesk Onyx?

Plesk Onyx is the new benchmark in control panels, and is the only tool you ever need to build, secure and run websites and applications in the Cloud!

Plesk Onyx allows server administrators to set up new websites, manage accounts and e-mail, and oversee DNS entries and other relevant networking data and specs through an intuitive web-based interface. It is an intuitive control panel that any customer can easily use. The latest version of Plesk Onyx supports multiple Windows and Linux distributions, for example Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and many more – meaning you have even less to worry about if you have a customized network setup or if you are unsure about compatibility.

Gain time, gain freedom.

Our biggest release to date simplifies the lives of Web Professionals by fully integrating Docker and Git. Server related tasks and components are automated to run and scale web projects as well as providing one-click web server security. The ultimate answer for Web professionals who work with SMB’s (small to medium-sized businesses), we like to think of Plesk Onyx as a tool which empowers end users to easily deploy their web projects and get their MVP’s to market sooner.

What are the benefits/features?

  • Build: Plesk’s easy-to-use intuitive interface provides an environment for web professionals to code directly in. This allows developers and designers to focus on their business and develop web apps and sites that scale in the cloud.

  • Secure: It is not uncommon to have well-functioning websites that do not take security concerns into consideration. Such an approach can have huge negative consequences as your services continue to run and be exposed. An estimated 90% of web developers realize specific security concerns or loopholes in their application only after it is too late. Plesk will handle all security protocols and take necessary measures for you, automatically.

  • Run: Manage your WebOps: In the past, a team of tech specialists was needed to ensure that everything worked together throughout the running and deployment of any given web application. This meant that you had to have someone dedicated to ensuring that everything from the deployment, running, maintenance and security to the patching and repairing of your app or system, runs smoothly and successfully. However, with the progress of time, these tasks have become more and more automated, to the point where you do not need the same expensive technical resources you needed a few years ago.

Plesk Onyx also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx Featured ApplicationsImage: Plesk Onyx

Now that you’re familiar with AWS EC2 and Plesk you’re ready to take the next steps. There’s no better way of finding out about the powerful capabilities of AWS than by trying out the platform.

Getting started with Plesk Onyx and AWS EC2

 

1. Creating an AWS Account

To access any web service AWS offers, you must first create an AWS account. An AWS account is simply an Amazon.com account that is enabled to use AWS products. You can use an existing Amazon.com account login and password when creating the AWS account.

From your AWS account you can view your AWS account activity, view usage reports, and manage your AWS Security Credentials.

To set up a new account

1. Open https://aws.amazon.com/, and then choose Create a Free Account.

2. Follow the online instructions.

3. Part of the sign-up procedure involves receiving a phone call and entering a PIN using the phone keypad.

Note: You will not be charged unless your usage exceeds the free tier limits, which is great to explore the services and even host a real app without being charged.

 

2. Go to the AWS Marketplace

AWS Marketplace is a new way to find and buy software that runs in the AWS Cloud. In order to simplify installing on Amazon, Plesk provides a variety of AMIs (Amazon Machine Images) with the most popular configurations.

Plesk Onyx at AWS Marketplace Image: Amazon

Thus, no actual installation is required. In Amazon terminology, the user needs to launch the instance from the appropriate AMI. All available AMIs can be found at AWS Marketplace.

Note: In this How-to we use the ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) instance of Plesk Onyx CentOS 7 which allows you to use your own Plesk license. If you don’t have one yet, you can get a free trial license here.

Bring Your Own License

 

1. Click on Plesk Onyx ‘Bring Your Own License’ (CentOS 7), read the product description to make sure that it suits your needs.

2. Expand Region, and select the region you want from the list. The price is different for different regions.

3. Click the Continue button.

Plesk Onyx - Bring Your Own LicenseImage: Amazon

4. On the next site choose 1-Click Launch which uses predefined settings for Plesk Onyx.

5. Choose the configuration on the EC2 instance type. You will see the pricing information change under Pricing Details to match your selection. You can also review the Monthly Estimate in the right pane.

6. Create new Security Group based on seller settings. The Security Group created by AWS Marketplace based on recommended settings for Plesk ‘Bring Your Own License’ CentOS 7 version 17.0.17.

Plesk Onyx 'Bring Your Own License' (CentOS 7)Image: Amazon

7. Select the Key Pair to be used for connection to the instance (an existing Key Pair is required for connection to the Plesk instance). A Key Pair can be generated in the AWS Management Console.

8. Read the User End License Agreement (EULA) and AWS Customer Agreement and click Launch with 1-click button.

9. An instance of this software is now deploying on EC2. Software and AWS hourly usage fees apply when the instance is running and will appear on your monthly bill.

An instance of this software is now deploying on Amazon EC2Image: Amazon

10. Click on the AWS Management Console link in the right pane to get your instances list.

3. Connecting the instance via SSH

When Plesk is installed on an Amazon EC2 instance, the admin password is generated automatically. You need to obtain the generated password in order to access Plesk GUI for the first time.

Amazon EC2 - Connecting the instance via SSHImage: Amazon

1. Open up your favorite SSH client application and connect to the instance utilizing the public IP address assigned to the instance, that can be found in the right pane of the instances description.

2. User name: The remote user to log in as. The default admin user, or Superuser, is centos for Centos, ubuntu for Ubuntu.

Note: If you added a public SSH key to your instance when you created it, you must have the private SSH key of the key pair (and passphrase, if it has one).

3. Generate a one-time login for logging in to Plesk Onyx.

Run the following command:

 # sudo plesk login | grep -v ec2.internal

SSH into your instance

4. Copy the generated link into your browser.

4. Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk Onyx, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx Installation WizardImage: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your hostname (Public DNS).
  • Default IP Address: Select your IP address
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Plesk Onyx settingsImage: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. After that comes the license key install page. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceed with installing the license key.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx Image: Plesk Onyx

Thank you to the whole Amazon team for co-authoring this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

Deploying Plesk Onyx on Microsoft Windows Azure

Cloud computing provides businesses the ability to quickly scale computing resources without the costly and laborious task of building data centres, and without the costs of running servers with idle capacity due to variable workloads. To simplify dynamic provisioning in the Cloud for infrastructure providers (including service providers who offer dedicated servers, VPS or IaaS), Plesk now provides ready-to-go images for deploying on Microsoft Windows Azure.

What is Windows Azure?

Quite simply, anything you want it to be.

This cloud platform from Microsoft provides a wide range of different services, to help you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you’re a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website with a global reach, Windows Azure provides a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business.

In addition to traditional cloud offerings, Azure offers services that leverage proprietary Microsoft technologies. For example, RemoteApp allows for the deployment of Windows programs using a virtual machine running Windows, OS X, Android, or iOS through a remote desktop connection. Azure also offers cloud-hosted versions of common Microsoft enterprise solutions, such as Active Directory and SQL Server.

Questions about Windows Azure?

There are two great places you can go online to ask questions about Windows Azure and get answers from the community:

  • The Windows Azure forums on MSDN.
  • Get involved with the Azure Community on Stack Overflow here.

The best way to keep up with new features and enhancements in Windows Azure is by following the official Windows Azure Blog. If you use a newsreader, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog and get the news as it happens.

Microsoft Windows Azure Dashboard
Image: Microsoft

What is Plesk Onyx?

It’s what Web Professionals like Developers, Designers, Agencies, IT-Admins use to simplify their work lives.

Plesk is the leading WebOps platform to build, secure and automate applications, websites and hosting businesses. Available in more than 32 languages across 140 countries in the world, 50% of the top 100 worldwide service providers are Plesk partners. Our WebOps platform is designed to help infrastructure providers create targeted solutions for Web Professionals, Web Hosts, and Hosting Service Providers.

Key solution areas include:

  • Unlimited domains
  • WordPress Toolkit
  • Developer Pack
  • Subscription Management
  • Account Management
  • Reseller Management

The new Plesk Onyx for Windows and Linux (WebHost) also includes a tightly integrated set of mass-management and security tools that can be used to protect and automate WordPress. All Plesk-powered systems come with built-in server-to-site security, promising more reliable infrastructure and reduced support costs.

Plesk Onyx at Microsoft Windows Azure Virtual Machines Marketplace
Image: Microsoft

Here’s the good news: Plesk Onyx now runs on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to provide the scalability, security, and performance that customers depend on.

Better news yet, Plesk provides a variety of virtual machine images with the most popular configurations. So no actual installation is required. You’ll just need to create a virtual machine from the appropriate image. All available images for virtual machines can be found in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

 

Which virtual machine images are provided?

The new Plesk Onyx images are shipped in three editions and are available for both Windows and Linux.

The ‘Bring Your Own License’ (BYOL) instance of Plesk Onyx allows you to purchase your own license directly from the Plesk Online Store or from a Plesk reseller. For Plesk Onyx WebHost images, the cost of your license is included in the hourly charge for the instance. Plesk Onyx licenses are available for two platform types: for Dedicated Servers and for VPS.

License and OS version:
Plesk Onyx images at Microsoft Windows Azure

Now that you’re familiar with the Windows Azure platform and Plesk, you’re ready to take the next steps. And there’s no better way to experience the powerful capabilities of Windows Azure than trying out the platform for yourself.

 

Getting started with Plesk and Windows Azure

Microsoft is currently offering a free one-month trial of Windows Azure that provides you with $200 of Windows Azure credits you can use for whatever you want. You get full access to the platform with no strings attached. Just sign in with your Microsoft account and fill out the form.

Tutorials

These tutorials by Cynthia Nottingham, Technical Writer at Microsoft, shows you how easy it is to create a Windows virtual machine (VM) from a Plesk-published image by using the Azure portal.

 

Quick Start Guide: Create a virtual machine

Log into the Azure Portal and on your Dashboard, select New> Compute. Search for the Plesk virtual machine images and select the appropriate Plesk configuration.

Microsoft Windows Azure - Plesk Onyx images
Image: Microsoft

When configuring a virtual machine, you will be asked to specify the following settings:

1. Basic settings: virtual machine name, disk type (SSD or HD), username and password, your Azure subscription and resource group.

Note: The root username cannot be used during the VM creation. You may grant the root user access to the VM later from the console.

For Linux VM, you can choose the following authentication types:

  • SSH public key. In this case, you should specify your SSH public key. You can find information about creating public and private SSH keys here.
  • Password. In this case, you should specify and confirm the password that will be used for connection to the virtual machine.

2. VM size. You can choose one of available standard sizes provided by Azure.

3. Storage and network settings, including virtual network, subnet, public IP address, network security group (firewall). It is OK to leave the default values for most options.

Note: By default, your machine will have a dynamic IP address, so that the IP address will be changed each time when the virtual machine is restarted. If you want to avoid this, click Public IP address and then select the Static option. The virtual machine will be created with a static IP address.

4. Deployment. When you’ve dialed in all the settings, you’ll be presented with a summary. Confirm these settings for your new VM and click OK. Finally, your offer details will be generated and you can now purchase your virtual machine by clicking the Purchase button. The deployment process will start, and you will see its progress on your Dashboard.

5. You’ve created a VM. Your new VM will deploy in a couple of minutes. Once your virtual machine is deployed, it will be automatically started and the setting page will be displayed. You also can view and manage your virtual machine settings by going to Virtual Machines and selecting your virtual machine name.

Of course, you will be able to see the Public IP address of the machine.

Microsoft Azure - virtual machine configuration
Image: Microsoft

Access Plesk Onyx on your virtual machine

Connect to the virtual machine.

  • If you’ve created a Windows Virtual Machine, you can connect to it via Remote Desktop. Go to the Azure Portal Dashboard >Virtual Machines, choose your VM, and click Connect. This will create and download a Remote Desktop Protocol file (.rdp file) that acts like a shortcut to connect to your machine. Open this file and connect to your virtual machine using your login and password.

  • If you have a Linux VM, you can SSH into its public IP address that is displayed in the virtual machine’s settings. Depending on your selected authentication type, you may either use a login and password, or your SSH public key.

  • From a Mac or Linux workstation, you can SSH directly from the Terminal. For example:

     ssh -i ~/.ssh/azure_id_rsa [email protected]
  • If you are on a Windows workstation, then you will need to use PuTTY, MobaXTerm or Cygwin to SSH to Linux. For details, see How to Use SSH keys with Windows on Azure.

 

Get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk

  • On the virtual machine, run

     $ sudo plesk login

    to get a one-time login for logging in to Plesk. You will receive two links: based on the virtual machine name and based on the IP address. Use the link based on the IP address to log in to Plesk.

login via ssh to Plesk Onyx

Note: You cannot use the link based on the virtual machine name the first time you log in because Plesk has not passed the initial configuration and the full hostname has not been created yet. You should use the link corresponding to your public IP address.

 

Running the Installation/Configuration wizard

1. When you log into Plesk, you will see the View Selector page. On this page, you can choose the appearance of the panel as per your requirements.

Plesk Onyx configuration wizard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Once your purpose has been identified, a second drop-down menu will emerge asking you select your preferred layout. This can be changed later.

2. Then comes the Settings page. Here you need to fill in your hostname, IP configuration, and admin password.

  • New hostname: Fill in your primary domain (i.e. testdomain.com).
  • Default IP Address: Leave the IP as default.
  • New password: Change the default administrator password.

Plesk Onyx Settings
Image: Plesk Onyx

3. Next is the Administrator information page. Just fill in the information asked and proceed to the next page.

4. Then comes the License key install page. Your Microsoft Azure instance is billed on an hourly basis, starting when it boots up and ending with the instance termination.

  • If you have a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Plesk Onyx image, your hourly charge for the Microsoft Azure instance will be lower but you need to purchase and install the Plesk product license yourself. You can order, retrieve and install a 14-day full-featured trial license from this page. Since you have already purchased a license key, proceeding with installing the license key.
  • If you have a non-BYOL Plesk Onyx image, for example, Plesk Onyx on Windows 2012 R2 (WebHost), the cost of the license will be included in the hourly charge for the instance.

5. On the Create your Webspace page you can specify the domain name of your first subscription, and system user account username and password that you will use to manage it. This will create a subscription for hosting multiple sites.

6. Woohoo! Plesk is now configured!

Plesk Onyx - Administration dashboard
Image: Plesk Onyx

Thanks to the Microsoft Windows Azure team for co-authoring the introduction to this article and for providing feedback and technical insights on Windows Azure.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

6 essentials on Docker containers

Docker containers

Docker is one of the most successful open source projects in recent history, it’s fundamentally shifting the way people think about building, shipping and running applications. If you’re in the tech industry then the chances you’re already aware of the project. We’re going to look at 6 key points about Docker.

According to Alex Ellis, Docker Captain, Containers are disruptive and are changing the way we build and partition our applications in the cloud. Gone are monolithic systems and in come microservices, auto-scaling and self-healing infrastructure. Forget heavy-weight SOAP interfaces – REST APIs are the new lingua franca.

Whether you are wondering how Docker fits into your stack or are already leading the way – here are 6 essential facts that you and your team need to know about containers.

1. Containers are not VMs

Containers and virtual machines have similar resource isolation and allocation benefits – but a different architectural approach allows containers to be more portable and efficient. The main difference between containers and VMs is in their architectural approach.

Difference between containers and VMs

Virtual machines

VMs include the application, the necessary binaries, libraries, and an entire guest operating system — all of which can amount to tens of GBs. VMs run on top of a physical machine using a Hypervisor.  The hypervisors themselves run on physical computers, referred to as the “host machine”. The host machine is what provides the VM with resources, including RAM and CPU. These resources are divided among VMs.  So if one VM is running a more resource heavy application, more resources would be allocated to that one than to the other VMs running on the same host machine.

The VM that is running on the host machine is also often called a “guest machine.”

This guest machine contains both the application and whatever it needs to run that application (e.g. system binaries, libraries). It also carries an entire virtualized hardware stack of its own, including virtualized network adapters, storage, and CPU — which means it in turn has its own full-fledged guest operating system. From the inside, the guest machine behaves as its own unit with its own dedicated resources. From the outside, we know that it’s a VM — sharing resources provided by the host machine.

Containers

For all intents and purposes, containers look like a VM. The *key* is that the underlying architecture is fundamentally different between the containers and virtual machines. The big difference between containers and VMs is that containers *share* the host system’s kernel with other containers. The image above shows that containers package up just the user space, and not the kernel or virtual hardware like a VM does.

Each container gets its own isolated user space to allow multiple containers to run on a single host machine. All the operating system level architecture is being shared across containers.

The only parts that are created from scratch are the bins and libs – this is what makes containers so lightweight and portable. Virtual machines are built in the opposite direction. They start with a full operating system and, depending on the application, developers may or may not be able to strip out unwanted components.

  • Basically containers provide same functionality which provides by VMs, with out any hypervisor overhead
  • Containers are more light weight than VMs, since it shares kernel with host without hardware emulation (hypervisor)
  • Docker is not a virtualization technology, it’s an application delivery technology.
  • A container is “just” a process – literally a container is not “a thing”.
  • Containers use kernel features such as kernel namespaces, and control groups (cgroups)
  • Kernel namespaces provide basic isolation and CGroups use for resource allocation

Namespaces

  • Kernel namespaces provide basic isolation
  • It guarantee that each container cannot see or affect other containers
  • For an example, with namespaces you can have multiple processes with same PID in different environments (containers)
  • There are six types of namespaces available
  1. pid (processes)
  2. net (network interfaces, routing…)
  3. ipc (System V IPC)
  4. mnt (mount points, filesystems)
  5. uts (hostname)
  6. user (UIDs)

CGroups

  • CGroups(Control Groups) allocate resources and apply limits to the resources a process can take (memory, CPU, disk I/O)
    between containers
  • It ensure that each container gets its fair share of memory, CPU, disk I/O(resources),
  • Also It guarantee that single container not over consuming the resources

2. A Container (Process) can start up in one-twentieth of a second

Containers can be created much faster than virtual machines because VMs must retrieve 10-20 GBs of an operating system from storage. The workload in the container uses the host server’s operating system kernel, avoiding that step. According to Miles Ward, Google Cloud Platform’s Global Head of Solutions, a container (process) can start up in ~1/20th of a second compared to a minute or so for a modern VM. When development teams adopt Docker –  they add a new layer of agility, and productivitiy to the software development lifecycle.

Docker catalog

Image: Plesk Onyx

Having that speed right in place allows a development team to get project code activated, to test code in different ways, or to launch additional e-commerce capacity on its website –  all very quickly.
3. Containers have proven themselves on a massive scale
The world’s most innovative companies are adopting microservices architectures, where loosely coupled together services from applications. For example, you might have your Mongo database running in one container and your Redis server in another while your Node.js app is in another. With Docker, it’s become much more easier to link these containers together to create your application, making it easy-to-scale or update components independently in the future.

According to InformationWeek, another example is Google. Google Search is the world’s biggest implementer of containers, which the company uses for internal operations. In running Google Search operations, it uses containers by themselves, launching about 7,000 containers every second, which amounts to about 2 billion every week. The significance of containerization is that it is creating a standard definition and corresponding reference runtime that industry players will need to be able to move containers between different clouds (Google, AWS, Azure, DigitalOcean,…) which will allow applications and containers to become the portability layer going forward.
Docker helped create a group called the Open Container Initiative formed June 22nd 2015. The group exists to provide a standard format for container images and a specification for container runtimes. This helps avoid vendor lock-in and means your applications will be portable between many different cloud providers and hosts.
4. Containers are “lightweight”

As mentioned before, containers running on a single machine share the same operating system kernel – they start instantly and use less RAM. Docker for example has made it much easier for anyone — developers, sysadmins, and others — to take advantage of containers in order to quickly build and test portable applications. It allows anyone to package an application on their laptop, which in turn can run unmodified on any public cloud, private cloud, or even bare metal – the mantra is: “build once, run anywhere.”

Container architecture
5. Docker has become synonymous with containers
Docker is rapidly changing the rules of the cloud and upending the cloud technology landscape. Smoothing the way for microservices, open source collaboration, and DevOps. Docker is changing both the application development lifecycle and cloud engineering practices.

Stats:

  • 2B+ Docker Image Downloads
  • 2000+ contributors
  • 40K+ GitHub stars
  • 200K+ Dockerized apps
  • 240 Meetups in 70 countries
  • 95K Meetup members

Every day, lot’s of developers are happily testing or building new Docker-based apps with Plesk Onyx  – understanding where the Docker fire is spreading is the key to staying competitive in an ever-changing world.

Web Professionals understood that containers would be much more useful and portable if there was one way of creating them and moving them around, instead of having a proliferation of container formatting engines. Docker, at the moment, is that de facto standard.

They’re just like shipping containers, as Docker’s CEO Ben Golub likes to say. Every trucking firm, railroad, and marine shipyard knows how to pick up and move the standard shipping container. Docker containers are welcome the same way in a wide variety of computing environments.
6. Docker’s ambassadors: the Captains
Have you met the Docker Captains yet? There’s over 67 of them right now and they are spread all over the world. Captains are Docker ambassadors (not Docker employees) and their genuine *love* of all things Docker has a huge impact on the community.

That can be blogging, writing books, speaking, running workshops, creating tutorials and classes, offering support in forums, or organizing and contributing to local events.

Here, you find out on how you can follow all the Captains without having to navigate through over 67 web pages.

The Docker Community offers you the Docker basics, and lots of different ways to engage with other Docker enthusiasts who share a passion for virtual containers, microservices and distributed applications.

Got a cool Docker hack? Looking to organize, host or sponsor Docker meetups? Want to share your Docker story?

Get involved with the Docker Community here.
Docker basics

7. Alex Ellis – Docker Captain

I became a Docker Captain after being nominated by a Docker Inc. employee who had seen some of my training materials and activity in the community helping local developers in Peterborough to understand containers and how they fit into this shifting landscape of technology. The engergy and enthusiasm of Docker’s team was what lead me to start this journey on the Captains’programme.

It’s all about raising up new leaders in the community to advocate the benefits of containers for software engineering. We also write and speak about exciting new features in the Docker eco-system and  presence ourselves in conferences, meet-up groups and in the marketplace. Start my self-paced, Hands-On Docker tutorial here. If you have questions, or want to talk I’m on Twitter.

Thank you to Docker Captain Alex Ellis for co-authoring the introduction to this write-up and for providing feedback and technical insights on containers.

Be well, do good, and stay Plesky!

Cheers,
Jörg

Sources: Docker.com, Alex Ellis, Google Cloud Platform BlogInformationWeek, Freecodecamp

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