Docker Compose vs Docker Swarm

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Docker Compose

14.9K
10.9K
+ 1
477
Docker Swarm

709
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+ 1
267
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Docker Compose vs Docker Swarm: What are the differences?

Developers describe Docker Compose as "Define and run multi-container applications with Docker". With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running. On the other hand, Docker Swarm is detailed as "Native clustering for Docker. Turn a pool of Docker hosts into a single, virtual host". Swarm serves the standard Docker API, so any tool which already communicates with a Docker daemon can use Swarm to transparently scale to multiple hosts: Dokku, Compose, Krane, Deis, DockerUI, Shipyard, Drone, Jenkins... and, of course, the Docker client itself.

Docker Compose and Docker Swarm can be categorized as "Container" tools.

"Multi-container descriptor" is the top reason why over 111 developers like Docker Compose, while over 44 developers mention "Docker friendly" as the leading cause for choosing Docker Swarm.

Docker Compose and Docker Swarm are both open source tools. It seems that Docker Compose with 16.4K GitHub stars and 2.52K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Docker Swarm with 5.61K GitHub stars and 1.11K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Docker Compose has a broader approval, being mentioned in 787 company stacks & 608 developers stacks; compared to Docker Swarm, which is listed in 80 company stacks and 38 developer stacks.

Advice on Docker Compose and Docker Swarm

Hello, we have a bunch of local hosts (Linux and Windows) where Docker containers are running with bamboo agents on them. Currently, each container is installed as a system service. Each host is set up manually. I want to improve the system by adding some sort of orchestration software that should install, update and check for consistency in my docker containers. I don't need any clouds, all hosts are local. I'd prefer simple solutions. What orchestration system should I choose?

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Replies (1)
Mortie Torabi
Recommends
Docker SwarmDocker Swarm

If you just want the basic orchestration between a set of defined hosts, go with Docker Swarm. If you want more advanced orchestration + flexibility in terms of resource management and load balancing go with Kubernetes. In both cases, you can make it even more complex while making the whole architecture more understandable and replicable by using Terraform.

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Decisions about Docker Compose and Docker Swarm
Michael Roberts

We develop rapidly with docker-compose orchestrated services, however, for production - we utilise the very best ideas that Kubernetes has to offer: SCALE! We can scale when needed, setting a maximum and minimum level of nodes for each application layer - scaling only when the load balancer needs it. This allowed us to reduce our devops costs by 40% whilst also maintaining an SLA of 99.87%.

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Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 28 upvotes · 3.3M views

Our whole DevOps stack consists of the following tools:

  • GitHub (incl. GitHub Pages/Markdown for Documentation, GettingStarted and HowTo's) for collaborative review and code management tool
  • Respectively Git as revision control system
  • SourceTree as Git GUI
  • Visual Studio Code as IDE
  • CircleCI for continuous integration (automatize development process)
  • Prettier / TSLint / ESLint as code linter
  • SonarQube as quality gate
  • Docker as container management (incl. Docker Compose for multi-container application management)
  • VirtualBox for operating system simulation tests
  • Kubernetes as cluster management for docker containers
  • Heroku for deploying in test environments
  • nginx as web server (preferably used as facade server in production environment)
  • SSLMate (using OpenSSL) for certificate management
  • Amazon EC2 (incl. Amazon S3) for deploying in stage (production-like) and production environments
  • PostgreSQL as preferred database system
  • Redis as preferred in-memory database/store (great for caching)

The main reason we have chosen Kubernetes over Docker Swarm is related to the following artifacts:

  • Key features: Easy and flexible installation, Clear dashboard, Great scaling operations, Monitoring is an integral part, Great load balancing concepts, Monitors the condition and ensures compensation in the event of failure.
  • Applications: An application can be deployed using a combination of pods, deployments, and services (or micro-services).
  • Functionality: Kubernetes as a complex installation and setup process, but it not as limited as Docker Swarm.
  • Monitoring: It supports multiple versions of logging and monitoring when the services are deployed within the cluster (Elasticsearch/Kibana (ELK), Heapster/Grafana, Sysdig cloud integration).
  • Scalability: All-in-one framework for distributed systems.
  • Other Benefits: Kubernetes is backed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), huge community among container orchestration tools, it is an open source and modular tool that works with any OS.
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Pros of Docker Compose
Pros of Docker Swarm
  • 121
    Multi-container descriptor
  • 109
    Fast development environment setup
  • 75
    Easy linking of containers
  • 66
    Simple yaml configuration
  • 58
    Easy setup
  • 15
    Yml or yaml format
  • 11
    Use Standard Docker API
  • 7
    Open source
  • 4
    Can choose Discovery Backend
  • 4
    Go from template to application in minutes
  • 2
    Scalable
  • 2
    Easy configuration
  • 2
    Kubernetes integration
  • 1
    Quick and easy
  • 54
    Docker friendly
  • 45
    Easy to setup
  • 39
    Standard Docker API
  • 37
    Easy to use
  • 22
    Native
  • 21
    Free
  • 12
    Clustering made easy
  • 11
    Simple usage
  • 10
    Integral part of docker
  • 5
    Cross Platform
  • 4
    Labels and annotations
  • 3
    Performance
  • 2
    Shallow learning curve
  • 2
    Easy Networking

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Cons of Docker Compose
Cons of Docker Swarm
  • 8
    Tied to single machine
  • 5
    Still very volatile, changing syntax often
  • 7
    Low adoption

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What is Docker Compose?

With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.

What is Docker Swarm?

Swarm serves the standard Docker API, so any tool which already communicates with a Docker daemon can use Swarm to transparently scale to multiple hosts: Dokku, Compose, Krane, Deis, DockerUI, Shipyard, Drone, Jenkins... and, of course, the Docker client itself.

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What companies use Docker Compose?
What companies use Docker Swarm?
See which teams inside your own company are using Docker Compose or Docker Swarm.
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What tools integrate with Docker Compose?
What tools integrate with Docker Swarm?

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What are some alternatives to Docker Compose and Docker Swarm?
Kubernetes
Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
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
Helm
Helm is the best way to find, share, and use software built for Kubernetes.
Ansible
Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.
Portainer
It is a universal container management tool. It works with Kubernetes, Docker, Docker Swarm and Azure ACI. It allows you to manage containers without needing to know platform-specific code.
See all alternatives