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Apache Maven vs Docker: What are the differences?

Introduction: This article will discuss the key differences between Apache Maven and Docker.

  1. Dependency Management and Build Tool: Apache Maven is primarily used as a build automation tool and dependency management solution for Java projects. It provides a robust way to manage project dependencies, including the ability to automatically download and include the required libraries in the build process. Docker, on the other hand, is a containerization platform that allows developers to package applications and their dependencies into a lightweight and portable container. It focuses on providing a consistent runtime environment for applications across different platforms and infrastructures.

  2. Granularity and Portability: Maven operates at the level of individual Java projects, providing a way to manage dependencies and build the projects independently. It is often used in the context of a single application or module. Docker, on the other hand, operates at a higher level, allowing developers to package entire applications, including the operating system, runtime environment, and dependencies, into a single container. This makes Docker more suitable for deploying and running applications across different environments and platforms.

  3. Virtualization vs. Containerization: Maven relies on virtualization technologies, such as virtual machines, to provide a consistent environment for building and executing Java projects. It creates an isolated virtual environment for each build process, which can be resource-intensive. Docker, on the other hand, uses containerization technologies, such as Linux containers, to provide lightweight and isolated runtime environments. Containers share the same host operating system, which makes them more efficient and lightweight compared to virtual machines.

  4. Reproducibility and Version Control: Maven ensures reproducibility by using a declarative approach, where project dependencies and build configurations are defined in a pom.xml file. This file can be version controlled and shared with other developers, making it easy to reproduce the exact build process. Docker takes a similar approach, allowing developers to define the application's runtime environment and dependencies in a Dockerfile. The Dockerfile can be version controlled and shared, ensuring reproducibility across different environments.

  5. Scalability and Orchestration: Maven does not have built-in support for scaling and orchestrating applications. It primarily focuses on building and packaging individual projects. Docker, on the other hand, provides tools and features for scaling and orchestrating containerized applications. Docker Swarm and Kubernetes are popular container orchestration platforms that can be used to manage and scale applications running in Docker containers.

  6. Tool Ecosystem and Integration: Maven has a mature and extensive ecosystem of plugins and integrations with other Java development tools and frameworks. It integrates well with version control systems, testing frameworks, and IDEs. Docker also has a growing ecosystem of tools and integrations, but it is more focused on containerization-related tasks such as container orchestration, image management, and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.

In Summary, Apache Maven and Docker have key differences in terms of their focus (dependency management vs. containerization), granularity, virtualization vs. containerization, reproducibility, scalability/orchestration, and tool ecosystem/integration.

Decisions about Docker and Apache Maven
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 434.8K 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 Apache Maven
  • 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
  • 138
    Dependency management
  • 70
    Necessary evil
  • 60
    I’d rather code my app, not my build
  • 48
    Publishing packaged artifacts
  • 43
    Convention over configuration
  • 18
  • 11
    Consistency across builds
  • 6
    Prevents overengineering using scripting
  • 4
    Runs Tests
  • 4
    Lot of cool plugins
  • 3
  • 2
    Hard to customize
  • 2
    Runs on Linux
  • 1
    Runs on OS X
  • 1
    Slow incremental build
  • 1
    Inconsistent buillds
  • 1
  • 1
    Good IDE tooling

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Cons of Docker
Cons of Apache Maven
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
  • 6
  • 1
    Inconsistent buillds
  • 0
    Not many plugin-alternatives

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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 Apache Maven?

Maven allows a project to build using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins that are shared by all projects using Maven, providing a uniform build system. Once you familiarize yourself with how one Maven project builds you automatically know how all Maven projects build saving you immense amounts of time when trying to navigate many projects.

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Jul 9 2019 at 7:22PM

Blue Medora

DockerPostgreSQLNew Relic+8
DockerAmazon EC2Scala+8
What are some alternatives to Docker and Apache Maven?
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