Monday, September 1, 2014

DOCKER, DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS, AND WHY IT MATTERS TO MAGENTO

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Docker is a really interesting technology for scaling Magento installations. Docker is standardizing the way to ship application functionality. It goes further than having an installer and setting up a machine with an operating system, the application, and all the configuration settings by providing a way to package all that configuration into a single “container” that is easy to install and run. Docker also abstracts the linking containers together allowing the containers to be combined in different ways without change to the container itself.

Docker is not perfect. Docker (and VMs in general) definitely chew up the disk space by having an OS image per container. That is one of the reasons for emergence of minimal Linux distributions (distributions with just enough to run say a web server, and nothing more). But these days disk is not your main expense. The labor cost to set up such systems can easily dwarf the hardware costs. So getting a predefined MySQL container you can just reuse with optimized settings for typical Magento installations can save you quite a bit of time and money. And if you do need to tweak some settings, you can build your own image by extending an existing image (you don’t have to start again from scratch).

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