In my experience, the concept of virtualization is currently synonymous with the creation of virtual machines that are used to emulate hardware and operating systems that, for one reason or another, are not readily available during the process of software development. For example, during my studies I have needed to use programs that were not available on Windows operating systems or to study an operating system for which a physical unit may not be readily available. Whatever the case may be, virtualization is not a new concept, and it is widely utilized in software development. It is important to note that virtualization is not exclusive to virtual machines, as it has a broader range that includes any concept related to the abstraction of a system’s physical components into virtual components.
Among others, one concept of virtualization is containerization, with which most of us are familiar through Docker. Conversely, containerization refers to the containment of applications, their dependencies, and their required operating system into a singular package, also called container (hence, the name) that can be deployed and used on any operating system. By design, containers are meant to be a portable and lightweight way of testing and deploying applications, at least when compared to virtual machines. However, it is important to note that singular instances of containers cannot be modified, whereas it is possible to customize and modify virtual machines. Despite the caveats or benefits of virtual machines and containers, both are equally important during development.
As I mentioned before, I have used virtual machines during my studies to create and use servers that I had no immediate physical access to, so the concept of virtual machines is not entirely foreign to me. However, I have little experience by comparison when it comes to Docker and using containers for software development, so I believe it is important for me to understand their differences so that I can know how to properly utilize them. As I was researching more regarding the concepts of virtualization and containerization, I came across the post titled What’s the Diff: VMs vs Containers on BackBlaze.Com, in which Roderick Bauer defines what virtual machines and containers are in detail, how they are different based on their structure on a server, as well as listing their benefits and best uses. Though Bauer does not directly state their caveats, by looking at the differences of both virtualization and containerization I can better understand when either approach could be more suitable depending on the needs during development.
Moreover, what this post also helped me understand better is that neither option is mutually exclusive; it is possible (and sometimes, even preferable) to utilize both virtualization and containerization during development, rather than being limited to either option, so long as doing so does contribute to improving development.
Direct link to the resource referenced in the post: https://www.backblaze.com/blog/vm-vs-containers/
Recommended materials/resources reviewed related to virtualization, virtual machines, and Docker/containerization:
7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization (Definition of Virtualization)