Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Goodbye virtual machines, hello container machines


Article from ADMIN 68/2022
Keep your test-driven development and testing environments pristine with Footloose containers that look like VMs.

The principles of Dev(Sec)Ops are based on test-driven development, which states that you need to consider how you will test before you write a single line of code. Monitoring and alerting, as well as security compliance and detection tests, should be in place from the beginning. The ability to enact and clean up a VM-based environment quickly is important for unblocking on-demand development and testing (and is a vital part of continuous integration and continuous delivery or deployment, CI/CD).

Many admins like to model their infrastructure in advance from a personal laptop or lightweight test system, but multiple VMs can be quite demanding for a single system. For instance, if you have used the combination of Vagrant and VirtualBox for deploying and managing virtual machines, you probably realize the virtualization provided requires special hardware acceleration and significant computing resources not found in lightweight systems. In my own experience, only four or five VMs are enough to throttle even a nice four-core, 16GB MacBook Pro and make it scream like a Steam Engine.

Containers are a bit easier on resources because the devices and kernel are shared, and only the userspace is sandboxed. One solution that could stretch your test system a bit farther is Footloose, a tool that provides "containers that look like VMs" [1]. Footloose [2], which is built around Docker, runs systemd as PID 1 and uses ssh daemon to log into the container machines (containers that look like virtual machines). The advantages are few dependencies, except the Docker daemon, and no need for virtualization support from hardware. Footloose, which runs on both GNU/Linux and macOS, can help you model your virtual environment without overloading your hardware. You can even run dockerd inside a Footloose container machine.

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