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Docker vs PM2: What are the differences?

Docker: Enterprise Container Platform for High-Velocity Innovation. 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; PM2: Ease-to-use Node.js process manager, like forever. Production process manager for Node.js apps with a built-in load balancer.

Docker and PM2 are primarily classified as "Virtual Machine Platforms & Containers" and "Node.js Process Manager" tools respectively.

"Rapid integration and build up" is the primary reason why developers consider Docker over the competitors, whereas "Reliable" was stated as the key factor in picking PM2.

Docker and PM2 are both open source tools. Docker with 54K GitHub stars and 15.6K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than PM2 with 29.7K GitHub stars and 1.99K GitHub forks.

Spotify, Pinterest, and Twitter are some of the popular companies that use Docker, whereas PM2 is used by Publitas, CybrHome, and Code Foundries. Docker has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3527 company stacks & 3449 developers stacks; compared to PM2, which is listed in 52 company stacks and 19 developer stacks.

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 PM2?

Production process manager for Node.js apps with a built-in load balancer
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      What are some alternatives to Docker and PM2?
      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.
      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.
      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.
      See all alternatives
      Decisions about Docker and PM2
      Tymoteusz Paul
      Tymoteusz Paul
      Devops guy at X20X Development LTD · | 13 upvotes · 260K views
      Amazon EC2
      Amazon EC2
      LXC
      LXC
      CircleCI
      CircleCI
      Docker
      Docker
      Git
      Git
      Vault
      Vault
      Apache Maven
      Apache Maven
      Slack
      Slack
      Jenkins
      Jenkins
      TeamCity
      TeamCity
      Logstash
      Logstash
      Kibana
      Kibana
      Elasticsearch
      Elasticsearch
      Ansible
      Ansible
      VirtualBox
      VirtualBox
      Vagrant
      Vagrant

      Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).

      It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear vagrant up or vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.

      I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.

      We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.

      If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.

      The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).

      Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.

      See more
      Webpack
      Webpack
      React
      React
      Google Compute Engine
      Google Compute Engine
      GitLab CI
      GitLab CI
      Docker Swarm
      Docker Swarm
      Docker
      Docker
      Node.js
      Node.js
      #DeploymentWorkflow

      I have got a small radio service running on Node.js. Front end is written with React and packed with Webpack . I use Docker for my #DeploymentWorkflow along with Docker Swarm and GitLab CI on a single Google Compute Engine instance, which is also a runner itself. Pretty unscalable decision but it works great for tiny projects. The project is available on https://ch1ller.com

      See more
      Interest over time
      Reviews of Docker and PM2
      Avatar of gdi2290
      Co-Founder and CTO at Tipe
      Review ofDockerDocker

      Docker is the new kid on the block disrupting virtualization nowadays. You're able to save up to 70% of your development cost on AWS (or any other cloud) switching to Docker. For example instead of paying for many small VMs you can spin up a large one with many Docker containers to drastically lower your cost. That alone is only one of the reasons why Docker is the future and it's not even the best feature: isolation, testa­bil­i­ty, re­pro­ducibil­i­ty, standardization, security, and upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions to name a few. You can spin up 1000's of Docker containers on an ordinary Laptop, but you would have trouble spinning up 100's of VMs. If you haven't already checked out Docker you're missing out on a huge opportunity to join the movement that will change development/production environments forever

      Review ofDockerDocker

      The support for macOS is a fake.

      I can't work with docker in macOS because de network and comunications with the container don't works correctly.

      How developers use Docker and PM2
      Avatar of ssshake
      ssshake uses DockerDocker

      Currently experimenting. The idea is to isolate any services where I'm not confident yet in their security/quality. The hope is that if there is an exploit in a given service that an attacker won't be able break out of the docker container and cause damage to my systems.

      An example of a service I would isolate in a docker container would be a minecraft browser map application I use. I don't know who wrote it, I don't know who's vetting it, I don't know the source code. I would feel a lot better putting this in a container before I expose it to the internet.

      I believe I will follow this process for anything that's not properly maintained (not in an trusted apt-repo or some other sort of confidence)

      Avatar of AngeloR
      AngeloR uses DockerDocker

      We are testing out docker at the moment, building images from successful staging builds for all our APIs. Since we operate in a SOA (not quite microservices), developers have a dockerfile that they can run to build the entirety of our api infrastructure on their machines. We use the successful builds from staging to power these instances allowing them to do some more manual integration testing across systems.

      Avatar of Yaakov Gesher
      Yaakov Gesher uses DockerDocker

      Each component of the app was launched in a separate container, so that they wouldn't have to share resources: the front end in one, the back end in another, a third for celery, a fourth for celery-beat, and a fifth for RabbitMQ. Actually, we ended up running four front-end containers and eight back-end, due to load constraints.

      Avatar of sapslaj
      sapslaj uses DockerDocker

      Linux containers are so much more lightweight than VMs which is quite important for my limited budget. However, Docker has much more support and tooling for it unlike LXC, hence why I use it. rkt is interesting, although I will probably stick with Docker due to being more widespread.

      Avatar of Packet
      Packet uses DockerDocker

      We are running primarily as a micro-services platform and Docker lets us iterate on these smaller units consistently from dev to staging to production. It is also integral to our continuous deployment system for rolling out or rolling back new features.

      Avatar of Eventvods
      Eventvods uses PM2PM2

      Node.js clustering, load-balancing and performance monitoring.

      How much does Docker cost?
      How much does PM2 cost?
      Pricing unavailable
      Pricing unavailable
      News about PM2
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