Linux Containers: You probably didn't need a VM anyway

Short Form


Containerization is an often overlooked option for when one needs to solve a problem typically involving the need to create temporary machines to test things or to logically separate machines. I'm here to show you how you can do all this from your laptop without burning your lap, requiring an hour and a half for installation, or filing bugs against IT folks or forking over cash for more cloud instances. Let me explain why LXC is the best option for testing new software and is also an excellent option for taking advantage of production hardware. Topics covered will be basic concepts, installing, cloning, and destroying containers as well as advanced concepts and stupid tricks.


Imagine Linux Containers as a special kind of virtual machine. Whereas a virtual machine emulates the processors, memory, disks, and assorted hardware devices, Linux Containers eschew that expense by only requiring what is needed for system separation.

This makes them much lighter weight and brings many advantages, such as the ability to spin them up and destroy them in seconds, which has serious benefits for anybody doing continuous integration. Another benefit from the lightweight portion is that an order of magnitude more instances can fit on one piece of hardware. I’ve routinely run 512 containers on my little laptop.

Containerization is an often overlooked option for when one needs to bring up a separated virtual machine. Most people have never heard of the concept before, which I think is a real shame, especially since if they’ve used Linux anytime in the last two years, they’re already using them!

This talk is for system administrators, developers, or anybody who likes to tinker with bleeding edge software. After listening to this presentation everybody will have a very powerful and useful tool in their skillset.

Speaking experience

Open Source Bridge: The Art of Open Source DJing Ganeti: Clustered virtualization on commodity hardware [1] + How to use Puppet like an Adult [2] + An introduction to FirefoxOS [3]
FOSDEM: IT@Mozilla: Open Sourcing the Infrastructure
MozCamp Asia: IT and Community
Beaver BarCamp: The Dark Arts of the Secure SHell



  • Ben

    Benjamin Kero

    Mozilla Corporation


    Ben is a system administrator at Mozilla, and spends most of his time wrestling with version control systems, embedded Linux, hardware hacking, general DIY, open source software advocacy, and weekend auto racing.


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