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LXC: Linux container tools

Feb 04, 2009, 22:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Helsley)

"Containers effectively partition the resources managed by a single operating system into isolated groups to better balance the conflicting demands on resource usage between the isolated groups. In contrast to virtualization, neither instruction-level emulation nor just-in-time compilation is required. Containers can run instructions native to the core CPU without any special interpretation mechanisms. None of the complexities of paravirtualization or system call thunking are required either.

"By providing a way to create and enter containers, an operating system gives applications the illusion of running on a separate machine while at the same time sharing many of the underlying resources. For example, the page cache of common files—glibc for example—may effectively be shared because all containers use the same kernel and, depending on the container configuration, frequent the same libc library. This sharing can often extend to other files in directories that do not need to be written to.

"The savings realized by sharing these resources, while also providing isolation, mean that containers have significantly lower overhead than true virtualization. Container technology has existed for a long time. Solaris Zones and BSD jails are examples of containers on non-Linux operating systems. Container technologies for Linux have a similarly extensive heritage: Linux-Vserver, OpenVZ, and FreeVPS. While each of these technologies has matured, these solutions have not made significant strides towards integrating their container support into the mainstream Linux kernel. (See Resources for more on these technologies.)"

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