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The Whats and Whys of Containerized Microservices

Containerized microservices have gained immense popularity for development and deployment initiatives, offering a straightforward path for digital transformation and cloud migration. This approach is crucial for software development companies seeking effective and efficient ways to develop or enhance applications. Microservices, focusing on specific functions or software components, are a preferred choice. However, the periodic challenges of creating, testing, and implementing microservices are common.

Developing apps or improving the existing system using microservices and containerization is both effective and efficient for software development companies. Be it a specific function or parts of the software or app that needs improvement – microservices are the best resort. However, companies often struggle with creating, testing, and implementing microservices periodically. This is where containerized microservices help.

According to Statista, in 2022, 53% of companies plan to containerize apps, with more than 33% planning to rearchitect apps into microservices. In addition, 20% have a strategy to move from virtual machines to containers. If leveraged well, containerization can contribute to developing as well as operating microservices. Let us understand containerized microservices in detail.

In 2022, Statista reports that 53% of companies plan to containerize apps, with over 33% intending to re-architect apps into microservices. Moreover, 20% have strategies to transition from virtual machines to containers. Harnessing the power of containerization in microservices is key to successful development and operation. Let’s delve into the details of containerized microservices to understand their importance in the evolving landscape.

What Is Called Containerization?

Containerization in microservices is a software development approach in which applications and their dependencies, along with the environment structure abstracted as operation manifest files, are packed together like a container, tested as one unit, and implemented to host the operating system.

A container environment is isolated, portable, and resource-controlled, where applications run without interfering with the resources of another container or even the host. Thus, a container behaves like a newly installed virtual machine or computer.

Enterprises are adopting containers to implement microservices based on their applications. Some standard container implementation hosts can be adopted by cloud vendors and software platforms. At A5E, experts handle containerized microservices using the latest technology to reduce overhead, improve efficiency, and advance software development.

Microservices containers have become the preferred choice for implementing microservices architectures, where applications are decomposed into loosely coupled, independently deployable services. This modular approach promotes agility and scalability, enabling organizations to rapidly develop, deploy, and scale individual services without impacting the entire application.

What is meant by microservices?

Microservices is a software architecture style that breaks down a large monolithic application into smaller, independent services. Each microservice is responsible for a specific business capability and communicates with other microservices through well-defined APIs. This approach offers several benefits, including increased agility, scalability, and maintainability.

Containerization vs Microservices

Microservices & containerization are two distinct concepts that often get conflated in the world of software development. While they share a common goal of improving application agility and scalability, they operate at different levels of abstraction and address different aspects of the software development lifecycle.

Containerization is a virtualization technique that packages an application’s code, dependencies, and runtime environment into a lightweight, self-contained unit called a container. This approach allows applications to run consistently across different computing environments, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

Microservices, on the other hand, is an architectural style that structures an application as a suite of small, independent services. Each microservice is responsible for a specific business function and communicates with other microservices through well-defined APIs. This approach promotes modularity and enables independent development, deployment, and scaling of individual services.


Various options for deploying microservices

Deploying microservices involves choosing a suitable deployment strategy, selecting the right tools, and implementing effective monitoring and management practices. Here are the various options for deploying microservices:

1. Single machine, multiple processes:
This is the simplest deployment approach, where all microservices run on a single physical or virtual machine. This option is suitable for small-scale deployments or for testing purposes.

2. Multiple machines, multiple processes:As the application grows, it may become necessary to distribute the microservices across multiple machines to handle increased load and improve scalability. In this approach, each microservice runs on a separate machine or virtual machine.

3. Containerization with Docker or Kubernetes:
Containerization is a popular method for deploying microservices, offering portability, isolation, and resource control. Docker is a widely used containerization platform that packages microservices into lightweight, self-contained units called containers. Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that manages the deployment, scaling, and networking of containerized microservices.

4. Serverless computing:
Serverless computing is a cloud-based deployment model that abstracts away the infrastructure management and provisioning, allowing developers to focus on writing code. Serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Azure Functions execute code in response to events, such as HTTP requests, without the need to manage servers or containers.

5. Platform as a Service (PaaS):
PaaS platforms provide a managed environment for deploying and scaling microservices. They handle the underlying infrastructure and provisioning, allowing developers to focus on application development and deployment. Examples of PaaS platforms include Cloud Foundry and Heroku.

6. Virtual Machines (VMs)
Virtual machines are a traditional way to deploy microservices, providing a more controlled and isolated environment compared to containers. VMs can be managed using tools like Vagrant or Ansible.

7. Orchestration:
Orchestration of microservices services, such as Kubernetes and Docker Swarm, provide a way to manage and automate the deployment and scaling of microservices. These platforms can help you to manage the complexities of running microservices in production, such as load balancing, health monitoring, and failover.

Key Considerations for Containerized Microservices

Effective management of containerized microservices necessitates the use of configuration management tools rather than solely relying on individual container runtimes. While container runtimes proficiently handle various stages of execution, their capabilities alone are insufficient for comprehensive containers in microservices architectures. Diverse runtimes from various providers may be available, but their functionalities often exhibit similar traits. It is crucial that these runtimes adhere to Open Container Initiative specifications.

Container Runtimes

Configuration management tools are essential to managing containerized microservices as opposed to implementing container runtimes single-handedly. Usually, container runtime handles different stages of execution effectively, but the runtimes are not enough to manage these containers. You can find an array of runtimes from multiple providers, but most of these options will only function in the same manner. Of course, they should conform to Open Container Initiative specifications. 

Service Orchestration

When you are working with a large number of containers, orchestration tools should be used to automate operational tasks like container distribution across servers. Kubernetes is the best choice for container orchestration, especially for Docker users. In addition, there are other platforms for container management designed for specific cases. For instance, Red Hat OpenShift and Amazon Elastic Container Service are two proprietary container management options equipped with enterprise-level features such as integrated CI/CD pipelines and workflow automation.


Even when deployed independently, some microservices still live inside the containers. They communicate with one another. As a result, you have to deploy a service mesh to manage requests across microservices with the help of an abstract proxy component. When those services further interact with the external endpoints, a communication portal will be needed to verify and send requests even from external components like API gateways.

Constant Storage 

Container data disappears immediately as the occurrence shuts down. Hence those reliant on persistent data should implement necessary external storage. Orchestrator components typically handle container data storage. Hence, it is important to make sure that the external storage components are compatible with those particular orchestrators. Fortunately, Kubernetes supports multiple storage products through Container Storage Interface.


Microservices require access to the backend resources. So, running those containers in that mode allows them to have direct access to the root capabilities of the host. This also exposes the kernel as well as allied sensitive components of the system. Developers must set necessary network policies and security context definitions to prevent any unauthorized access to underlying systems and containers. 

Lastly, it is imperative to deploy audit tools to validate container configurations and meet the underlined security requirements and image scanners of the containers that detect potential security threats automatically.

Pros & Cons of Containerized Microservices


    • Greater consistency: Containerized microservices offer greater consistency in developing and testing automated microservice code blocks and applications. Since microservices are isolated in containers, very few variables are involved. This means there are fewer potential concerns during different stages of development, testing, and deployment. 

    • Scalability: Containerized microservices also support the growth of the business. Compared to the development of virtual machines, containerization also allows you to stack different containers on one server hardware and one OS environment for continual growth.  

    • Better isolation: Containerized microservices also limit resource consumption and allow businesses to stretch the limited resources and budget while developing several microservices simultaneously. 

    • Efficiency: As fewer resources are required to run multiple microservices simultaneously, it eases the burden of the organization. Compared to the same microservices running in a virtual machine environment, this is more efficient. 

All in all, containerized microservices are highly efficient and cost-effective in developing and testing several microservices.

Regardless of these factors, containers offer the most straightforward deployment of functional microservices into the dynamic product environment – typically in large-scale environments.


    • Complex workforce: Developers face immense complications in dealing with abstract containers, typically while implementing microservices to big platforms and applications. Luckily, some proprietary, open-source and container management tools assist developers in carrying this out. 

    • Familiarity with Kubernetes: It is mandatory to know Kubernetes and be familiar with the tool or similar tools to ensure you understand container orchestration. The servers must be familiar with container runtimes and storage and network resources needed for each. 

    • Does not support legacy applications: Although microservices are helpful and they have a unique place in app development, they don’t work in every case. Depending on what type of app you are running, it may or may not work. This often poses a challenge while implementing the same in a containerized environment. 

Due to all these shortcomings, developers might not prefer containerized microservices for smaller projects. They may consider a virtual machine environment for dealing with apps having limited functionalities.

Final Word

Altogether, containers are a popular choice for deploying functional microservices. Though they have some innate complexities, they make testing as well as deployment more predictable. 

Reach out to us to learn more about the viability of containerized microservices for your product or application development initiatives.

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