Docker logoThe buzz around Docker keeps growing, and for very good reason. When it comes to delivering and running successful apps, everyone from developers to CTOs are fast discovering the benefits of containerization with Docker. That’s why New Relic thought it was so important to integrate “app-centric” Docker monitoring.

In a webinar recorded last week, New Relic Software Engineering Manager Adam Larson and Senior Product Marketing Manager Andrew Marshall provide a comprehensive introduction to Docker and containerization. Covering the basics and potential business benefits of Docker implementation, the session also includes a hands-on demo showcasing the full visibility into Docker-containerized app performance offered by New Relic APM.

Containers vs. virtual machines

In the past, multiple applications have typically been run on a single server, with their respective dependencies often becoming tangled and strained. This situation, not-so-affectionately known as “Dependency Hell,” posed problems at multiple levels, from the data center to the end user, from dev to ops. “In most data centers in the world,” notes Adam, “there’s an IT guy crying because managing things and keeping them stable is really, really tough.”

Docker webinar screenshot

The advent of virtual machines (VMs) appeared to offer a solution. But while VMs helped to isolate things, they can be resource-heavy, slow, and require a lot of care. So much care, in fact, that Adam compares them to puppies! Lightweight containers like those offered by Docker, on the other hand, do not require that kind of care or differentiation and can spin up and down instantly.

Docker containers provide a new solution to this problem by packaging an application, along with all of its dependencies, into a standardized unit for deployment. Each of these packages represents a complete file system, providing a neat method for managing the app and helping to ensure it will run exactly the same, regardless of host or environment.

Docker webinar screenshot

Though containers are not a new technology—Linux containerization, for example, has long been a staple for Google—they have come into their own in the age of the app. “A container is emulating an operating system,” says Adam, “taking only what the application needs to run and running it in isolation.” This means you can fit many more Docker containers on an individual server than you can VMs. The huge cost savings that can result are just one of the reasons for the enthusiastic early adoption of Docker at many companies.

“You get a lot more bang for your buck with Docker,” Adam says. “And you get to market faster.”

Prioritizing what counts

When Adam and his team set about developing New Relic’s Docker monitoring capability, they were determined to provide a service that was more effective and valuable than those already on the market. Too many existing services do little more than regurgitate Docker data verbatim, providing an overwhelming amount of information, hardly any of which is actually actionable. Adam calls this “throwing the firehose” at the user, and sees it as more of a hindrance than a help.

What businesses are primarily interested in, he says, is making sure their app is running as smoothly as possible. Any tool, Docker included, is useful only insofar as it makes that happen. “That’s why we prioritize useful information over impressive information,” Adam says. By showing users exactly what they need to see, when they need to see it, New Relic’s Docker monitoring is optimized for app deployment, helping to complete your APM picture.

Check out the full webinar below to learn more about Docker and containerization, see Adam’s New Relic Docker monitoring demo, and listen to the in-depth Q&A session at the end.


Container image courtesy of

B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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