A container registry is a place to store and access container images, and it plays an essential role in application development.
In many ways, a container registry functions as an intermediary between systems and container images. Hence developers used registries to store container images and share them out. Registries also store API paths and access control parameters that are vital for communication between containers.
See below for some of the top trends in the container registry category:
See more: Top Container Registry Software
Public versus private registries
There are two main types of container registry, public and private.
The public ones are typically only used by individual developers and small teams. They help them get started quickly but don’t scale well, lack enterprise features, and are difficult to use when it comes to patching, enforcing privacy rules, and dealing with access control challenges.
Private registries, on the other hand, come with features built-in to address these issues. The Docker registry, for instance, stores and distributes Docker images. It is split into different repositories. Each holds all image modifications and can be accessed by Docker users to fetch images locally. Alternatively, they can push new images to the registry if they have the appropriate access permissions. This server-side application is stateless and scalable. The company’s latest release is available for free download.
Some individuals and a few businesses still use the public ones. But most organizations are now using private registries.
The Docker registry is free. It is popular and used by many users. But it doesn’t have all the features that experienced container users are demanding.
Particularly with the rise of Kubernetes, there is greater need for enterprise-class functionality that goes beyond what Docker offers: Those using the free Docker registry might run into throttling or retention issues with the Docker Hub.
For example, the JFrog Container Registry supports Docker containers as well as Helm Chart repositories for Kubernetes deployments. It can be used as a single access point to manage and organize all Docker images. JFrog avoids throttling issues, providing reliable, consistent, and efficient access to remote Docker container registries.
There are several other enterprise features provided by JFrog: support for on-premises, self-hosted, hybrid, and multicloud environments and on a choice of the Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud; it can scale while maintaining reliability; gives DevOps teams with control over access and permissions; add metadata to artifacts with searchable properties; perform searches by name, archive, checksum, and properties; and manage Docker images with fine-grained access control and Helm repository to gain insight into Docker images and Kubernetes clusters.
Hyperscalers muscle in
With the surging popularity of Docker and Kubernetes, the big hyperscalers are seeing many users turning to public, free private, and other proprietary registries. This goes against the grain of the hyperscalers. Their philosophy is why let someone else get the business or handle the traffic, when we can take care of it ourselves.
Hence, they have all developed their own registries:
- Google Container Registry: acts as a single place for the management of Docker images. Developers can use it to perform vulnerability analysis. Google provides access to secure private Docker image storage on Google Cloud. This enables IT to maintain control over who can access, view, or download images.
- Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR): stores, shares, and deploys container software anywhere. Users can begin Amazon ECR with 500 MB of private repository storage per month for one year with the AWS Free Tier. It provides high-performance hosting and features such as the ability to push container images to Amazon ECR without installing or scaling infrastructure.
- Microsoft Azure Container Registry: stores container images, enables fast, scalable retrieval of container workloads, and handles private Docker container images as well as related content.
As registries grew in popularity, they began to be targeted more by cybercriminals. Thus, we are seeing far more cybersecurity features built into both private and public registries.
For instance, Google Container Registry comes with built-in vulnerability scanning to detect vulnerabilities earlier in the software deployment cycle and be certain container images are safe to deploy. A constantly refreshed database ensures that vulnerability scans are up-to-date and have the ability to detect new strains of malware.
Amazon ECR, too, can be used to share and download images securely over HTTPS with automatic encryption and access controls.
And Microsoft Azure Container Registry comes with automated container building and patching and integrated security with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication, role-based access control, Docker Content Trust, and virtual network integration.
See more: The Container Registry Market