Anatomy of containers

Many people wrongly compare containers to VMs. However, this is a questionable comparison. Containers are not just lightweight VMs. OK then, what is the correct description of a container?

Containers are specially encapsulated and secured processes running on the host system. Containers leverage a lot of features and primitives available in the Linux OS. The most important ones are namespaces and cgroups. All processes running in containers only share the same Linux kernel of the underlying host operating system. This is fundamentally different compared with VMs, as each VM contains its own full-blown operating system.

The startup times of a typical container can be measured in milliseconds, while a VM normally needs ...

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