Docker Compose vs Docker Swarm vs Kubernetes

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Docker Compose

21.2K
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Docker Swarm

782
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Kubernetes

58.7K
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Docker Compose vs Docker Swarm vs Kubernetes: What are the differences?

Introduction

This markdown provides a comparison between Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes, highlighting their key differences.

  1. Docker Compose: Docker Compose is a tool that allows defining and running multi-container Docker applications. It focuses on defining and managing the interdependencies of containers. Docker Compose is suitable for local development and small-scale deployments, as it lacks advanced scaling and orchestration features.
  2. Docker Swarm: Docker Swarm is a native clustering and orchestration solution for Docker. It enables the creation and management of a swarm of Docker nodes, turning them into a single virtual Docker host. Docker Swarm is built into Docker Engine and provides basic orchestration capabilities, such as service discovery and load balancing, ideal for simple container deployments.
  3. Kubernetes: Kubernetes is a powerful container orchestration platform that automates deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It offers advanced features like self-healing, scaling, multi-container scheduling, and fault tolerance. Kubernetes is highly scalable, fault-tolerant, and suitable for large-scale containerized deployments.

  4. Scalability: Docker Compose lacks built-in scaling capabilities. It is designed for single host/container environments and does not offer native scaling options. Docker Swarm provides some scaling features, allowing the replication of services across multiple nodes. However, Kubernetes excels in scalability, providing auto-scaling capabilities based on resource utilization, custom metrics, or even by time of day.

  5. Advanced Scheduling: Docker Compose and Docker Swarm offer simple service discovery and load balancing capabilities. In contrast, Kubernetes offers advanced scheduling features, allowing fine-grained control over where and how containers are deployed. Kubernetes supports various scheduling strategies, such as affinity, anti-affinity, node selectors, etc., providing greater flexibility in workload distribution.

  6. Service Discovery and Load Balancing: Docker Compose has limited support for service discovery, often relying on environment variables or custom scripts. Docker Swarm comes with built-in service discovery capabilities, allowing containers to communicate with each other using service names. Kubernetes provides a highly scalable and dynamic DNS-based service discovery mechanism, allowing containers to discover and communicate with each other using the service name or DNS record.

In summary, Docker Compose is suitable for small-scale local development, Docker Swarm provides basic clustering and orchestration capabilities, while Kubernetes offers advanced container orchestration features and scalability, making it ideal for large-scale containerized deployments.

Advice on Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes

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
on
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, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes
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 · | 30 upvotes · 9.2M 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
Pros of Kubernetes
  • 123
    Multi-container descriptor
  • 110
    Fast development environment setup
  • 79
    Easy linking of containers
  • 68
    Simple yaml configuration
  • 60
    Easy setup
  • 16
    Yml or yaml format
  • 12
    Use Standard Docker API
  • 8
    Open source
  • 5
    Go from template to application in minutes
  • 5
    Can choose Discovery Backend
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Easy configuration
  • 4
    Kubernetes integration
  • 3
    Quick and easy
  • 55
    Docker friendly
  • 46
    Easy to setup
  • 40
    Standard Docker API
  • 38
    Easy to use
  • 23
    Native
  • 22
    Free
  • 13
    Clustering made easy
  • 12
    Simple usage
  • 11
    Integral part of docker
  • 6
    Cross Platform
  • 5
    Labels and annotations
  • 5
    Performance
  • 3
    Easy Networking
  • 3
    Shallow learning curve
  • 164
    Leading docker container management solution
  • 128
    Simple and powerful
  • 106
    Open source
  • 76
    Backed by google
  • 58
    The right abstractions
  • 25
    Scale services
  • 20
    Replication controller
  • 11
    Permission managment
  • 9
    Supports autoscaling
  • 8
    Cheap
  • 8
    Simple
  • 6
    Self-healing
  • 5
    No cloud platform lock-in
  • 5
    Promotes modern/good infrascture practice
  • 5
    Open, powerful, stable
  • 5
    Reliable
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Quick cloud setup
  • 3
    Cloud Agnostic
  • 3
    Captain of Container Ship
  • 3
    A self healing environment with rich metadata
  • 3
    Runs on azure
  • 3
    Backed by Red Hat
  • 3
    Custom and extensibility
  • 2
    Sfg
  • 2
    Gke
  • 2
    Everything of CaaS
  • 2
    Golang
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Expandable

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Cons of Docker Compose
Cons of Docker Swarm
Cons of Kubernetes
  • 9
    Tied to single machine
  • 5
    Still very volatile, changing syntax often
  • 9
    Low adoption
  • 16
    Steep learning curve
  • 15
    Poor workflow for development
  • 8
    Orchestrates only infrastructure
  • 4
    High resource requirements for on-prem clusters
  • 2
    Too heavy for simple systems
  • 1
    Additional vendor lock-in (Docker)
  • 1
    More moving parts to secure
  • 1
    Additional Technology Overhead

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- No public GitHub repository available -
- No public GitHub repository available -

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.

What is 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.

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What companies use Docker Compose?
What companies use Docker Swarm?
What companies use Kubernetes?

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What tools integrate with Docker Compose?
What tools integrate with Docker Swarm?
What tools integrate with Kubernetes?

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What are some alternatives to Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes?
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.
Terraform
With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
See all alternatives