February 2018 – A completely revised and updated version of this article has been published. See A Practical Introduction to Container Terminology. The update includes coverage of container technologies beyond docker, such as CRI-O, rkt, lxc/lxd, and as well information on the Open Container Initiative (OCI).
January 13th, 2016
When discussing an architecture for containerization, it’s important to have a solid grasp on the related vocabulary. One of the challenges people have is that many of the following terms are used interchangeably… often causing quite a bit of confusion for newcomers.
- Container Image
- Image Layer
- Base Image
- Platform Image
The goal of this article is to clarify these terms, so that we can speak the same language and develop solutions and architectures leveraging the value of containers. Note that I am going to assume that you know how to run basic docker commands, but if you need a primer, I recommend starting with: A Practical Introduction to Docker Containers.
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