Application Container

What Does Application Container Mean?

The term "application container," which has several meanings in IT, has come to be used for a new type of technology that helps provide consistency and efficient design in the context of hardware virtualization.


Techopedia Explains Application Container

In virtualization, an application container is a controlling element for an application instance that runs within a type of virtualization scheme called container-based virtualization.

In traditional hypervisor-based virtualization, isolated processes and machines run on their own individual operating systems, independently attached to a controlling hypervisor. The virtualization system allocates memory and processing power as needed.

By contrast, in container-based virtualization, the individual instances share an operating system. They simply have different code containers for libraries and other resources. IT experts claim that, in many cases, container-based virtualization allows for more efficient design, by eliminating the need to set up more individual infrastructure systems for virtual components (virtual machines or application instances).

Within this context, some groundbreaking open-source companies have put together what is called an "application container," a technology standard that helps to provide a consistent method for creating these virtual containers. The easiest way to think about this is as a virtual storage container for data and processes. The technology itself is much more of an agreed standard than a particular kind of code base. It separates all of the internal elements of the application instance from what is outside, which is essentially the host operating system and virtualization software.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.