Wikipedia tells us that “containerization is a system of intermodal freight transport using intermodal containers.” To take this a step further, containerization is also a new way of packaging and deploying software applications. “Containers offer a logical packaging mechanism in which applications can be abstracted from the environment in which they actually run.” Admittedly, this may not ever be the hottest topic in LegalTech, but it is an important development. So important, in fact, that some of the world’s largest law firms decided to create a consortium to support the launch of a unified containerization platform specifically focusing on LegalTech applications. We, at Seal, are also big believers in this new approach and have already built containerization capabilities into our core technology offering.
In true Seal fashion, we have invested R&D dollars in this transformational technology and can now ship our platform in Docker containers. Containerization is quickly becoming the industry standard for running software in the cloud and its use is supported by all major cloud service providers (i.e. AWS, Azure, Google). Continuous improvements are being made to how Docker containers are managed within these clouds including the use of advanced technology stacks like Docker Swarm or Kubernetes.
Docker containers are lightweight software packages that bundle vital pieces together such as code, runtime, libraries, configuration and tools. This makes it possible to pre-package the entire installation which, in turn, makes deploying the software both faster and more efficient.
These predefined containers share the host machine’s operating system (OS) kernel in runtime and therefore don’t require a complete OS on their own, like traditional Virtual Machines (VM). A Virtual Machine packages the operating system and its settings on top of the hardware, whereas, a Docker container is lightweight and packages the network and CPU on top of plain hardware with the ability to scale. This reduces both hardware and licensing costs since containers are much lighter. Strong isolation in combination with good network possibilities also makes them more secure than traditional software.
“Containers at Google”, https://cloud.google.com/containers/
Furthermore, Seal utilizes Docker Swarm, which is an orchestration manager for Docker containers and allows users to manage multiple Docker nodes in a single virtual system. It provides state-of-the-art scaling, load balancing, rolling updates, service recovery, and built-in security, among other important advantages.
By building the above into the Seal product (or more accurately, rebuilding the Seal platform into Docker containers) we are providing our customers with all of the benefits that come with containerization and Docker. Containers are, by design, an upgradable service structure, storing data and information for a service. A new version of the system can be applied directly against the old one and will have minimal downtime, speeding time to value. In the future, we also plan to move towards online upgrades to further enhance the scalability and flexibility of our deployments.
Seal is proud to continue our tradition of applying the latest technology to help customers solve challenges. By adopting this model, we continue to innovate and offer tangible benefits to our customers. We look forward to all that containerization has to offer and are to deploy this best-in-class service and technology to our customers.
To learn more about Seal’s legal AI technology, visit our platform page.