Containerization vs. Virtualization: Differences DevOps Should Know

Virtualization and containerization allow multiple apps or workloads to run on a single physical computer or host. Businesses need help to differentiate between virtualization and containerization. They are different in their capacities but similar in specific ways. Both enhance productivity, adaptability, scalability, and DevOps and optimize the software development lifecycle. Virtualization and containerization can fulfill business objectives and increase the effectiveness of IT support. However, those unfamiliar with virtualization technologies might need clarification. In this article, we will discuss virtualization and containerization, their workings, benefits and limitations, and the right option for you.

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What is virtualization? 

Virtualization is the software used to create a virtual resource that operates on a layer apart from the actual hardware. Cloud computing is the most popular use case for virtualization. Through virtualization, a computer may run many virtual machines (VMs). These virtual machines (VMs) share the same physical IT infrastructure and are managed by the hypervisor despite being independent systems. Virtualization allows users to access features and apps without installing them on their computers. This cloud-based solution provides full cloud computing capabilities while saving money, time, and storage space.

How does virtualization work?

An application, a guest operating system, or data storage is isolated from the underlying hardware or software via virtualization. Multiple virtual machines are created on a single physical system via a thin software layer called a hypervisor, which mimics the actions and functionalities of the underlying hardware for the abstracted hardware or software. For most systems and applications, the performance of these virtual machines is more than sufficient, even if it may not match that of the OS operating on actual hardware. This is because most systems and applications still need to use or require the underlying hardware entirely. Once this reliance is eliminated, virtual computers (produced through virtualization) provide users more control, flexibility, and isolation. 

container virtualization

 Benefits of virtualization

  • All OS resources are accessible to applications.
  • Reliable functioning
  • Security controls have been improved.
  • Strong management system
  • High efficiency and cost savings
  • Centralized labor with no overhead

 Limitations of virtualization

  • Many RAM and CPU resources are required to operate several operating systems.
  • The software development lifecycle becomes more complicated with the transition between private and public clouds and data centers.
  • Because of their modular structure, programs operate as single, big files.
  • Specific: It doesn't run particular programs.
  • Specific, specialized, or older apps may not be compatible with virtualization software or require additional setup to function correctly.
  • Growing virtualized systems could be more challenging than real ones, especially when adding extra hardware resources.

What is containerization?

Containerization is packaging all necessary components, including related libraries, to operate an application or microservice. Each container consists of the operating system, dependencies, and programs. It allows apps to function consistently across many platforms. Containerization is a type of OS virtualization that separates programs and controls their access to memory, storage, and CPUs by leveraging the capabilities of the host operating system.

How does containerization work?

As part of the containerization process, the host OS kernel is shared as a read-only resource by other containers. Because containers are scalable and lightweight, you can install several on a single server or virtual machine. You can only maintain one operating system, not dedicate an entire server to a single application. Containerization offers solutions for several DevOps issues. As a result, several businesses use this strategy to move their managed services to the cloud. Using containers, applications may be divided into their most minor parts or microservices. There is no single, integrated service because each is developed and implemented independently.

containerization in devops

Benefits of containerization

  • Lower use of IT management resources
  • Size specifications are reduced.
  • Quick start-ups and more effortless security patching
  • The code that has to be uploaded, transferred, or moved is diminished.
  • Quick delivery
  • Easy administration

Limitations of containerization

  • All containers must use comparable operating systems.
  • A separate host is required if containers run on a different operating system.
  • Because the machine's containers all use the same operating system, they may introduce security flaws into the OS kernel.
  • Adopting this approach may be more complicated since it is still evolving.

Containerization vs. virtualization

Containerization (a) and virtualization (b) have strengths and weaknesses. They can be used independently to meet the business's needs or together to set up an efficient IT infrastructure for DevOps.

Property Virtualization Containerization

It completely separates virtual machines and the host operating system.

It provides a weak security barrier between hosts and containers yet it isolates the host and other containers.
Operating System

It includes an autonomous kernel-based operating system that demands excellent processing, memory, and storage power.

It uses a user-mode operating system that may be configured just to include the services your application needs, resulting in low resource demand.

Guest Compatibility

It is compatible with almost any operating system inside a virtual machine.

Only compatible with operating systems that are similar to the host's


It may be set up separately, with a hypervisor for every virtual machine.

Kubernetes orchestration is used to deploy many containers, while Docker is used to deploy single containers.
Persistent Storage Uses a server message block (SMB) for shared storage across many servers or a virtual hard drive (VHD) for local storage in a single virtual machine (VM). It uses SMB for shared storage across multiple servers or nodes and local disks for local storage on a single node.


Use Virtual Network Adapters (VNA) to conduct

Uses virtualization with an isolated view of a VNA.

Load Balancing Load-balancing virtual machines (VMs) on different servers in a failover cluster.

An orchestrator is used to manage load balancing to launch and automatically launch topically.

containerized vs virtualized

Containerization vs. virtualization: What's right for you?

Containerization is an excellent choice for running as many programs on as few servers as possible. Deploying cloud-native apps, packaging microservices, and transferring scalable programs across OS-compatible IT environments are wise decisions. Virtualization is a more efficient and ideal alternative for applications that require the entire operating system. If you want to host old software, separate development environments, and supply IT resources like servers, storage, and networking, but your application can use something other than mobility, go for virtual machines (VMs).

Depending on your ultimate objectives, virtualization, and containerization may each have a distinct place in your IT strategy.  CodeSuite's assistance can help you discover the ideal match for DevOps services.

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containerisation vs virtualization