Docker is the most famous containerization platform. Almost all the top companies around the world having digital services depend on Docker containers for running their applications. Hence, it is very important to understand and learn Docker if you are looking to make a career in the software domain (especially for people in DevOps). This blog discusses Docker and will help you get started with Docker for Windows. The topics covered are as follows:
If you are a beginner, do watch this video tutorial to learn Docker from the start:
Evolution of Containers
Since the era of online software deployments, companies were looking for easy and effective ways of hosting their software applications. The problem was if you wanted to host multiple instances of your application, you had to have hardware and OS on it to do that. Initially, people depended on normal physical deployments, which were ineffective and expensive. Then, people started using the virtual OS with which they were able to optimize the use of the hardware that was present.
Virtual OS did make the process a bit more effective, but there was still a bit of scope for improvement. The thing many visionaries of the field realized was that an OS is very heavy; it is designed and made in a fashion that users can have as many capabilities as possible. However, for software deployment, you do not need such high-end capabilities. What you need is some set of libraries that are pretty lightweight in nature. If you were to develop something like this, you would be able to make the entire process extremely efficient and inexpensive and, at the same time, eliminate problems like environmental differences (dependencies installed in systems). You would be able to switch to microservices (segregating your applications into separate stand-alone functionalities, which can interact with each other to produce results). Having this microservice architecture increases the security aspect as well.
With these enormous functionalities, something called a container was born. A container is a software unit that basically has all code and dependencies. You can run your applications in it, and it is very lightweight as compared to an OS. Now, how did Docker come into the picture?
What is docker?
Docker is a very popular open-source platform, which helps you create containers and, in turn, helps in creating container-based applications. Initially, when Docker was created, it was made for Linux exclusively, but now, there is Docker for Windows and macOS too. Docker containers are basically very simple and lightweight platforms that utilize the resources of your host system to run your application. Docker’s architecture can be seen in the image below.
While working with Docker, you will come across some terms quite constantly. Let’s tackle them quickly.
Every Docker container begins with a dockerfile. A dockerfile is basically a text file, which is written in a readable syntax and contains the instructions or steps to build a Docker image. A dockerfile provides details of the operating system that will be the base of the container, along with the details of languages, environment variables, network ports, file locations, and all of the other required components.
Docker images are templates that are read-only templates created from specifications provided in the dockerfile. Docker images are portable, but they are static in nature. Therefore, you need to be careful with the specifications you are building them with.
Whenever you run a Docker image, it runs in the form of a Docker container. So, you can think of Docker containers as the runtime instance of a Docker image.
Docker Hub is the place you store Docker images. The images stored in Docker Hub can be pulled from a remote server, and that image can be run locally. In Docker Hub, you can have public or private repositories.
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Pros & Cons of Docker for Windows
There are certain aspects of why you should use docker for windows but at the same time, there are some cons in using docker for windows. Let’s discuss it in detail about it. Let’s begin with the positives first.
Pros of Docker for Windows
We live in a digital era where cybersecurity is at the pinnacle of importance. If you use docker for windows, there is a very high chance that you would be running the “Hyper-V” mode. In this your containers run inside the Hyper-V virtual machine instance which basically isolates your containers from host servers, hence providing another layer of safety.
2. Solves the different environment problem
Many software development organizations use both windows and Linux servers, in that case, using Docker for Windows will help you standardize the toolset that you are using to deploy applications
Now let us talk about some Docker for Windows limitations.
Cons of Docker for Windows
1. Not all Windows versions supported
Docker containers work only on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and later. Microsoft has made no indication that it plans to extend container support to older versions of its operating systems. You may use workarounds in virtual box and others for the older versions.
2. Issue of dependencies
If you are coming from a Linux background you would be familiar with a lot of commands like ‘nano’ etc, the problem with windows is PowerShell and cmd don’t support a lot of these commands but it is nothing that can’t be fixed. You can install a new terminal, add dependencies to use said libraries just the thing is that it’s a hassle. Once you set everything up then it works flawlessly.
Preparing for interviews? Head on to prepare for some of the most asked Docker Interview Questions.
Docker for Windows Prerequisites
You need to meet the following requirements for Docker For Windows Installation:
- Make sure that you are on Windows 10, either the Enterprise edition or the Pro edition, 64-bit system because Docker is only compatible with Windows 10, and no other editions can be used. However, there is a workaround for older versions of Windows. You can get Docker Toolbox to serve this purpose. This tutorial is going to explain installing Docker for Windows 10.
- You would need the hypervisor enabled on your Windows. Hypervisor-V is a lightweight solution for virtualization.
- You need to enable virtualization in your BIOS as well.
Now that you are sufficiently informed of the basics of Docker, the blog further takes you through the process of installing Docker for Windows. Follow the steps!
Install Docker for Windows
1. Go to Docker’s official website, and download Docker Desktop for Windows by clicking on Get Docker
2. Run the installer you just downloaded
3. Go through the Install Wizard; accept the license, and proceed with the installation
4. You will see the following window after successful installation. Then, restart your PC as instructed
5. If after the restart you see something like this, then you need to do a couple of more configurations. You can find the steps for that here:
6. When you finish with all of the above successfully, restart the PC again, and now, you will see something like this when you start Docker:
Just like that, and you are ready!
Need a guide similar to the above Docker tutorial for Windows to learn how to begin with Docker? Check out this awesome Docker Tutorial.