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Docker vs Portainer: What are the differences?

Developers describe Docker as "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. On the other hand, Portainer is detailed as "Simple management UI for Docker". Portainer is an open-source lightweight management UI which allows you to easily manage your Docker environments Portainer is available on Windows, Linux and Mac. It has never been so easy to manage Docker !.

Docker and Portainer are primarily classified as "Virtual Machine Platforms & Containers" and "Container" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Docker are:

  • Integrated developer tools
  • open, portable images
  • shareable, reusable apps

On the other hand, Portainer provides the following key features:

  • Docker management
  • Docker UI
  • Docker cluster management

"Rapid integration and build up" is the top reason why over 815 developers like Docker, while over 29 developers mention "Simple" as the leading cause for choosing Portainer.

Docker is an open source tool with 53.8K GitHub stars and 15.5K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Docker's open source repository on GitHub.

Lyft, StackShare, and Shopify are some of the popular companies that use Docker, whereas Portainer is used by Viadeo, Betaout, and Bluestem Brands. Docker has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3471 company stacks & 3322 developers stacks; compared to Portainer, which is listed in 23 company stacks and 17 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

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 Portainer?

Portainer is an open-source lightweight management UI which allows you to easily manage your Docker environments. Portainer is available on Windows, Linux and Mac. It has never been so easy to manage Docker !
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    What are some alternatives to Docker and Portainer?
    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 Portainer
    Anthony Lapenna
    Anthony Lapenna
    Co-founder and Software Engineer at Portainer.io at Portainer.io · | 8 upvotes · 20.5K views
    atPortainerPortainer
    Docker
    Docker
    Go
    Go

    Go was a natural choice for the backend of the Portainer web application. It makes the creation of HTTP API/services a breeze with a lot of standard features available in the ecosystem.

    One of the main thing we like with Go is its synergy with Docker and how easy it is to leverage this synergy to easily distribute an efficient software:

    • Go allows to compile a program for multiple platforms and OSes easily (it's just a matter of options when starting the compilation process, no matter the execution context)
    • Go binaries are lightweight, fast and can have a low memory footprint

    Combining these points with the empty scratch Docker image and multi-platform images, we can distribute Portainer for any environment that is running Docker. It allows our users to get started using the software in a matter of seconds.

    Go is also heavily geared toward the creation of HTTP/API services and is a language that is easy to read and also quite easy to learn, making it a first choice in the context of Portainer.

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    Anthony Lapenna
    Anthony Lapenna
    Co-founder and Software Engineer at Portainer.io at Portainer.io · | 4 upvotes · 6K views
    atPortainerPortainer
    Docker
    Docker
    Semaphore
    Semaphore
    GitHub
    GitHub

    Portainer being an open-source software, we decided to use the GitHub platform to host our codebase as well as our issue system. No need to present GitHub nowadays, it's perfectly geared with all the tools you need to manage small to large open-source projects (albeit with the usage of integrations that are easily available via its marketplace).

    In the context of the Portainer project, I'd like to highlight the tight integration of GitHub with Semaphore CI system. By leveraging this integration, we are able to automatically trigger a build of the application when a contribution is made to the project. This build is actually composed of a compilation of the program as well as the automatic creation and deployment of a Docker image directly on the DockerHub.

    This allow us to easily test and validate contributions made to the project and is a must-have for any open-source project that can leverage it.

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    Portainer
    Portainer

    I use Portainer because it does so good with the UI that we don't have to train our whole team to be Linux bash heros. It provides deep details without leaving details behind you would think could only come from the command line. Portainer is a professional tool that gives us enterprise features we appreciate. ( Will be blogging about this in January. )

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    Portainer
    Portainer

    I use Portainer because we were all in on Docker Cloud, which gave 2 months notice that they were sunsetting their services. We knew we wanted to migrate to Docker Community Edition, but its lack of UI had us worried until we came across Portainer. Portainer had just release their agent feature, which was a critical feature for us. To date, Portainer has been an outstanding product and we couldn't be happier with it.

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    Portainer
    Portainer

    I use Portainer as a way to disseminate micro-service architectures in my institute and drive innovation forward. Portainer enables an easy to deploy, easy to build platform which decreases the learning curve for deploying containers and micro-services. I am particular interested in offering Portainer as a product in the Research space (i work in one of the bigguest Australian Universities).

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    Portainer
    Portainer

    I use Portainer because it's a great tool to avoid CLI in docker environment, all management in only one screen, awesome. So we can use our time in more important stuff like providing more and better services to our teams and endusers. The Builtin LDAP support and the internal teams helps a lot in diving Dev's in the Devops world. Long live to Portainer. (I work as DevOps in a Big Brazilian Public University )

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    Tymoteusz Paul
    Tymoteusz Paul
    Devops guy at X20X Development LTD · | 13 upvotes · 284.9K 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.

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    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 Portainer
    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 ofPortainerPortainer

    Hey Team, As I used portainer and here I think some of functionality must be there like visualiser for monitoring.

    And Here I found a issue when we open the console then does not allow to exit the terminal using exit commands and scroller is not work in terminal...

    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.

    Avatar of sonaht
    Senior DevOps Engineer
    Review ofPortainerPortainer

    On the road to greatness. A worthy challenger soon to be

    How developers use Docker and Portainer
    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 Intrafind
    Intrafind uses PortainerPortainer

    Gui for Docker including swarm-mode

    How much does Docker cost?
    How much does Portainer cost?
    Pricing unavailable
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