Docker: Cleaning Up Our Environments

by Matt Beck

Here at Ambrose Fox, we are always looking for ways to improve our processes and create better products for our clients. Docker is a new technology that we have implemented to solve one of our biggest challenges.


As the number of solutions we create increases, the more we must remember how each solution runs. The software needed to make a solution run varies dramatically, and to make things more difficult, there are many different versions of the software. These differing setups are known as environments.


Environments are difficult to maintain across different computers and servers. For a solution to run effectively the environments must be identical throughout. A version change in a piece of software needed to run a solution, can have catastrophic effects if not correctly implemented.


Developers also have to be aware of possible changes to environments. Changes are recorded in some form of documentation but can easily be missed.


To fix this problem, we are utilising a technology called Docker. Docker helps us by remembering the environment for us and ensures a solution will run on any computer or server in exactly the same way.


Within a couple of minutes, we can be ready to start writing code instead of spending far longer configuring the environment before starting. Another benefit of Docker is our solutions are far more resilient and far less prone to configuration errors on the server.


Docker also allows us to update the software used in our solutions in a far more reliable way. By updating and testing in the development phase we can make the changes live without even having to log-in to the production server. We can be that sure!


Overall, less bugs make it to production, and we can spend more time writing code.

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