Containers Moving Beyond Servers

So far, containers have been used mostly to develop or deploy apps to servers—specifically, x86 servers. But containers have a future beyond the data center, too. From internet of things (IoT) devices, to ARM servers, to desktop computers, containers also hold promise.

It’s obvious enough why containers are valuable within the data center. They provide a portable, lightweight mode of deploying applications to servers.

However, servers account for only one part of the software market. There is a good chance that, sooner or later, containers will expand to other types of devices and deployment scenarios.

Docker Beyond the Data Center

In fact, they already are. Here are some examples of Docker taking on other types of environments or use cases:

  • Resin.io, a company that landed funding last summer to support efforts to bring Docker to IoT devices. The idea is to use containers to deploy lightweight applications to IoT hardware, which lack the resources to handle a more intensive software deployment process.
  • Docker on Raspberry Pi. Can you run Docker on Raspberry Pi? Yes. Why would you want to? Because it provides a very simple way to deploy complex applications on Raspberry Pi.
  • Docker on ARM servers. If you were interested to discover that Docker can run on Raspberry Pi, you might also be wondering whether it can support ARM servers. The answer here, too, is yes. That matters because it means Docker will remain important in data centers transitioning from traditional x86 servers to lower-cost, lower-power ARM hardware.
  • Docker for desktop apps. The fact that exporting video displays from a Docker container is tricky makes Docker less than ideal as a solution for installing applications on a desktop computer. But people are already using Docker for that purpose. If video support for containers improves, Docker could become a very handy way of deploying desktop apps.

To be sure, it’s likely that Docker’s main use case and value will remain in the data center for the foreseeable future. But it’s clear that Docker containers can do much more than power server applications.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

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