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AWS Firecracker vs Docker: What are the differences?

Introduction

AWS Firecracker and Docker are both containerization technologies that allow for the efficient deployment and management of applications. However, there are several key differences between these two platforms.

  1. Performance: AWS Firecracker is designed for lightweight, single-purpose virtual machines (microVMs), whereas Docker is a containerization platform. Firecracker provides a secure and highly efficient environment for running workloads, with minimal overhead. On the other hand, Docker containers share the host OS kernel, which can introduce some performance overhead.

  2. Security: Firecracker provides strong isolation between microVMs to enhance security. Each microVM is run in its own lightweight kernel and has a minimal attack surface. Docker, although it provides some level of isolation, shares the host OS kernel, making it potentially more vulnerable to container escapes. However, Docker provides features like namespaces and container security options to mitigate security risks.

  3. Start Time: Firecracker has extremely fast startup times, allowing for rapid scaling and efficient resource utilization. It can launch new microVMs in just a few milliseconds. Docker containers, on the other hand, typically take several seconds to start up. Although Docker has made improvements in startup time, Firecracker is still faster when it comes to launching new instances.

  4. Footprint: Firecracker has a smaller footprint compared to Docker. It is designed to provide a minimalist virtualization environment with a small memory and disk footprint. Docker, on the other hand, requires the installation of the Docker daemon and additional container images, resulting in a larger overall footprint.

  5. Elasticity: Firecracker is built to be highly elastic, allowing for efficient scaling and handling of bursty workloads. It can quickly launch and terminate microVMs based on demand, making it suitable for auto-scaling scenarios. Docker also supports scaling, but it may have slightly higher startup times and overhead compared to Firecracker.

  6. Tooling and Ecosystem: Docker has a mature and extensive ecosystem with a wide range of tools and services that support container management, orchestration, and deployment. It has a large community and a rich set of pre-built container images available. Firecracker, being a relatively newer technology, has a smaller ecosystem and fewer tooling options compared to Docker.

In Summary, AWS Firecracker is a lightweight virtualization technology designed for microVMs, providing high performance, security, and scalability. Docker, on the other hand, is a containerization platform focused on providing a broader set of features and a mature ecosystem for managing and deploying containerized applications.

Decisions about AWS Firecracker and Docker
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 424K views
Chose
LXDLXD
over
DockerDocker

lxd/lxc and Docker aren't congruent so this comparison needs a more detailed look; but in short I can say: the lxd-integrated administration of storage including zfs with its snapshot capabilities as well as the system container (multi-process) approach of lxc vs. the limited single-process container approach of Docker is the main reason I chose lxd over Docker.

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Pros of AWS Firecracker
Pros of Docker
    Be the first to leave a pro
    • 823
      Rapid integration and build up
    • 691
      Isolation
    • 521
      Open source
    • 505
      Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty
    • 460
      Lightweight
    • 218
      Standardization
    • 185
      Scalable
    • 106
      Upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions
    • 88
      Security
    • 85
      Private paas environments
    • 34
      Portability
    • 26
      Limit resource usage
    • 17
      Game changer
    • 16
      I love the way docker has changed virtualization
    • 14
      Fast
    • 12
      Concurrency
    • 8
      Docker's Compose tools
    • 6
      Easy setup
    • 6
      Fast and Portable
    • 5
      Because its fun
    • 4
      Makes shipping to production very simple
    • 3
      Highly useful
    • 3
      It's dope
    • 2
      Very easy to setup integrate and build
    • 2
      HIgh Throughput
    • 2
      Package the environment with the application
    • 2
      Does a nice job hogging memory
    • 2
      Open source and highly configurable
    • 2
      Simplicity, isolation, resource effective
    • 2
      MacOS support FAKE
    • 2
      Its cool
    • 2
      Docker hub for the FTW
    • 2
      Super
    • 0
      Asdfd

    Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

    Cons of AWS Firecracker
    Cons of Docker
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 8
        New versions == broken features
      • 6
        Unreliable networking
      • 6
        Documentation not always in sync
      • 4
        Moves quickly
      • 3
        Not Secure

      Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

      - No public GitHub repository available -

      What is AWS Firecracker?

      Firecracker is an open source virtualization technology that is purpose-built for creating and managing secure, multi-tenant container and function-based services that provide serverless operational models. Firecracker runs workloads in lightweight virtual machines, called microVMs, which combine the security and isolation properties provided by hardware virtualization technology with the speed and flexibility of containers.

      What is Docker?

      The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere

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      What companies use AWS Firecracker?
      What companies use Docker?
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      What tools integrate with AWS Firecracker?
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