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Docker vs Kubernetes: What are the differences?

Docker is a containerization platform that allows you to build, package, and distribute applications using containers. Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications in a cluster environment. Here are some key differences between Docker and Kubernetes:

  1. Containerization vs Orchestration: Docker is primarily a containerization platform that allows developers to create, package, and distribute applications in containers. It provides an easy way to isolate and run applications with their dependencies. Kubernetes, on the other hand, is an orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across a cluster of machines. While Docker focuses on container creation and management, Kubernetes focuses on the efficient orchestration of containers at scale.

  2. Single Host vs Cluster Management: Docker is designed to work on a single host or a development environment. It is suitable for small-scale deployments and local development setups. In contrast, Kubernetes is designed to manage containerized applications across a cluster of machines, providing features like auto-scaling, load balancing, service discovery, and self-healing capabilities. Kubernetes excels in large-scale production deployments and offers advanced management features for complex distributed systems.

  3. Scope of Control: Docker provides control at the individual container level, allowing developers to manage containers and their resources directly. It provides tools for container image creation, configuration, and deployment. Kubernetes operates at a higher level of abstraction and provides declarative specifications for defining the desired state of the entire application infrastructure. It handles the scheduling and placement of containers, manages their lifecycle, and automatically adjusts resources based on demand.

  4. Flexibility vs Opinions: Docker offers flexibility in terms of the choice of the underlying infrastructure, enabling it to run on various operating systems and cloud platforms. It supports multiple container runtimes, including its default runtime, containerd. Kubernetes, on the other hand, has a more opinionated approach and is closely tied to the Linux operating system. It standardizes the way containers are orchestrated and managed, providing a consistent platform across different environments.

In summary, Docker focuses on containerization and simplifies the process of packaging and running applications in containers. It is suitable for local development and smaller deployments. Kubernetes, on the other hand, is an advanced container orchestration platform designed for large-scale production deployments. It automates the management of containerized applications across a cluster, providing scalability, resilience, and enhanced management capabilities.

Decisions about Docker and Kubernetes
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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Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 422.3K 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 Docker
Pros of Kubernetes
  • 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
  • 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
Cons of Kubernetes
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
  • 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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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 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 are some alternatives to Docker and Kubernetes?
LXC
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.
rkt
Rocket is a cli for running App Containers. The goal of rocket is to be composable, secure, and fast.
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
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.
Red Hat OpenShift
OpenShift is Red Hat's Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. OpenShift is an application platform in the cloud where application developers and teams can build, test, deploy, and run their applications.
See all alternatives