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Docker vs kaniko: What are the differences?

Docker and Kaniko are two popular containerization tools that allow developers to build and manage container images. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. Docker Build Process: Docker uses a monolithic build process, where the build and packaging steps are performed inside the Docker daemon. On the other hand, Kaniko uses a distributed build process, where each step of the build process is executed in a separate container. This allows Kaniko to build images without requiring privileged access to the Docker daemon.

  2. Build Context: In Docker, the entire project directory (known as the build context) is sent to the Docker daemon during the build process. This means that any changes in the project directory will trigger a complete rebuild of the image. In contrast, Kaniko allows users to define a build context by specifying a set of files or directories. This can significantly speed up the build process by excluding unnecessary files.

  3. Build Performance: Docker builds images by creating intermediate containers and layers, which can slow down the build process. Kaniko, on the other hand, uses an incremental build process, which only rebuilds the necessary parts of the image that have changed. This can result in faster build times, especially for large projects with many dependencies.

  4. Build Environment: When using Docker, the build environment is tightly coupled to the host machine. This means that developers have limited control over the build environment and may encounter compatibility issues when moving images between different environments. Kaniko, on the other hand, provides a more isolated and reproducible build environment, allowing for consistent builds across different platforms.

  5. Cache Management: Docker maintains a cache of intermediate layers during the build process, which can be reused to speed up subsequent builds. However, managing the cache can be challenging, as changes to any intermediate layer will invalidate the cache for that layer and all subsequent layers. Kaniko provides a more efficient cache management system, where only the necessary layers are invalidated, leading to better cache utilization and faster builds.

  6. Security: Docker requires privileged access to the Docker daemon during the build process, which can pose security risks if not properly managed. Kaniko, on the other hand, eliminates the need for privileged access by executing each build step in an isolated container. This provides an additional layer of security and reduces the attack surface for potential vulnerabilities.

In summary, Kaniko offers a more distributed and efficient approach to building container images, with improved performance, better cache utilization, and enhanced security.

Decisions about Docker and kaniko
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 420.7K views

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 Docker
Pros of kaniko
  • 823
    Rapid integration and build up
  • 691
  • 521
    Open source
  • 505
    Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty
  • 460
  • 218
  • 185
  • 106
    Upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions
  • 88
  • 85
    Private paas environments
  • 34
  • 26
    Limit resource usage
  • 17
    Game changer
  • 16
    I love the way docker has changed virtualization
  • 14
  • 12
  • 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
  • 0
  • 3
    No need for docker demon
  • 1
    Automation using jules

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Cons of Docker
Cons of kaniko
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
  • 1
    Slow compared to docker

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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

What is kaniko?

A tool to build container images from a Dockerfile, inside a container or Kubernetes cluster. kaniko doesn't depend on a Docker daemon and executes each command within a Dockerfile completely in userspace. This enables building container images in environments that can't easily or securely run a Docker daemon, such as a standard Kubernetes cluster.

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What companies use Docker?
What companies use kaniko?
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Dec 8 2020 at 5:50PM


Jul 9 2019 at 7:22PM

Blue Medora

DockerPostgreSQLNew Relic+8
DockerAmazon EC2Scala+8
What are some alternatives to Docker and kaniko?
LXC is a userspace interface for the Linux kernel containment features. Through a powerful API and simple tools, it lets Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers.
Rocket is a cli for running App Containers. The goal of rocket is to be composable, secure, and fast.
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.
Cloud Foundry
Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy, and scale applications.
Vagrant provides the framework and configuration format to create and manage complete portable development environments. These development environments can live on your computer or in the cloud, and are portable between Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
See all alternatives