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Docker vs OpenStack: What are the differences?


Docker and OpenStack are both widely used technologies in the field of cloud computing. While they both serve the purpose of managing cloud infrastructure, there are some key differences between them.

  1. Architecture: Docker follows a lightweight containerization approach, where applications and their dependencies are packaged into individual containers. These containers run on a single host operating system, sharing the same kernel. On the other hand, OpenStack is a full-fledged cloud computing platform that provides a range of services including compute, storage, and networking. It follows a modular architecture and utilizes virtual machines for isolation.

  2. Scalability: Docker is known for its scalability as it allows easy scaling of individual containers. With the use of container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, multiple containers can be managed and scaled horizontally. OpenStack, on the other hand, is designed for managing large-scale cloud deployments. It provides scalability at a higher level, enabling the management of a cluster of servers.

  3. Resource utilization: Docker containers are lightweight and have low overhead, thus allowing efficient utilization of system resources. Multiple containers can run on the same host without significant impact on performance. OpenStack, being a comprehensive cloud solution, requires more resources to run as it manages virtual machines and provides various services. This may result in higher resource consumption compared to Docker.

  4. Purpose: Docker is primarily used for application deployment and management. It focuses on providing a consistent environment for running applications across different platforms. OpenStack, on the other hand, is more suited for building and managing cloud infrastructure. It offers a range of services that cater to the needs of a cloud environment, including compute, storage, and networking.

  5. Use cases: Docker is commonly used in scenarios where rapid application deployment and scalability are critical, such as microservices architecture and DevOps practices. It allows developers to package applications with their dependencies, enabling easy distribution and deployment. OpenStack, on the other hand, is well-suited for creating private or public clouds. It is often used by service providers, enterprises, and research organizations for managing cloud infrastructure.

  6. Community and ecosystem: Docker has a vast and active community, with a large number of available images, libraries, and tools. It has gained significant popularity and has a wide range of integrations with various platforms and services. OpenStack also has a well-established community, and it is backed by numerous companies and organizations. It has a comprehensive ecosystem of projects and plugins that extend its functionality.

In summary, Docker focuses on lightweight containerization and application management, while OpenStack provides a full-stack cloud computing platform with a range of services. Docker is more suitable for rapid application deployment and scalability, while OpenStack is designed for larger-scale cloud infrastructure management.

Decisions about Docker and OpenStack
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 435.3K 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 OpenStack
  • 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
  • 57
    Private cloud
  • 38
    Avoid vendor lock-in
  • 22
    Flexible in use
  • 6
    Industry leader
  • 4
    Supported by many companies in top500
  • 4
    Robust architecture

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Cons of Docker
Cons of OpenStack
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
    Be the first to leave a con

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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 OpenStack?

    OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.

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    Blog Posts

    Jul 9 2019 at 7:22PM

    Blue Medora

    DockerPostgreSQLNew Relic+8
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    What are some alternatives to Docker and OpenStack?
    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