Kubernetes vs Nomad

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Kubernetes vs Nomad: What are the differences?


Kubernetes and Nomad are both container orchestration platforms that help manage and deploy applications in a distributed environment. While they share some similarities, there are key differences between the two.

  1. Architecture: Kubernetes follows a master-worker architecture, where there is a central master node that manages the deployment and scaling of containers across worker nodes. In contrast, Nomad adopts a server-client architecture, where both the server and client nodes can perform scheduling and orchestration tasks. This architecture flexibility allows for easier scaling and resource allocation in Nomad.

  2. Scalability: Kubernetes is known to handle larger-scale deployments, supporting thousands of nodes and tens of thousands of containers. It provides more advanced scaling features like horizontal pod autoscaling, allowing applications to automatically scale based on demand. On the other hand, Nomad is designed to be lightweight and optimized for smaller-scale deployments, making it easier to run on resource-constrained environments such as edge devices or small clusters.

  3. Ease of Use: Kubernetes has a steeper learning curve compared to Nomad. It offers a rich set of features and configurations, which can be overwhelming for beginners. Nomad, on the other hand, prioritizes simplicity and ease of use. It provides a simpler interface and requires less configuration, making it more accessible for developers who want to quickly get started with container orchestration.

  4. Community and Ecosystem: Kubernetes has a larger and more mature community and ecosystem compared to Nomad. It has a wide range of tools, plugins, and documentation available, making it easier to find resources and get support. Nomad, although growing, has a smaller community, resulting in a more limited selection of tools and plugins. This can impact the availability of integrations and add-ons for specific use cases.

  5. Service Discovery and Networking: Kubernetes has built-in service discovery and networking capabilities through its DNS-based service discovery and networking model. It automatically assigns unique network addresses to services and provides load balancing between them. Nomad, on the other hand, does not provide native service discovery and networking features. It relies on external tools for addressing and load balancing, which allows for more flexibility and choice but requires additional setup and configuration.

  6. Use Cases: Kubernetes is well-suited for complex, large-scale deployments in production environments. It provides extensive features for managing stateful applications, service mesh deployments, and multi-cloud setups. Nomad, on the other hand, is a good choice for simpler deployments or when resource efficiency and lightweightness are prioritized. It is often used for edge computing, development environments, or scenarios where simplicity and ease of use are important.

In Summary, Kubernetes and Nomad differ in their architecture, scalability, ease of use, community/ecosystem support, service discovery/networking capabilities, and use cases. Kubernetes is more suitable for large-scale, complex deployments, while Nomad is focused on simplicity, resource efficiency, and smaller-scale setups.

Advice on Kubernetes and Nomad

Hello, we have a bunch of local hosts (Linux and Windows) where Docker containers are running with bamboo agents on them. Currently, each container is installed as a system service. Each host is set up manually. I want to improve the system by adding some sort of orchestration software that should install, update and check for consistency in my docker containers. I don't need any clouds, all hosts are local. I'd prefer simple solutions. What orchestration system should I choose?

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Replies (1)
Mortie Torabi
Docker SwarmDocker Swarm

If you just want the basic orchestration between a set of defined hosts, go with Docker Swarm. If you want more advanced orchestration + flexibility in terms of resource management and load balancing go with Kubernetes. In both cases, you can make it even more complex while making the whole architecture more understandable and replicable by using Terraform.

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Decisions about Kubernetes and Nomad
Michael Roberts

We develop rapidly with docker-compose orchestrated services, however, for production - we utilise the very best ideas that Kubernetes has to offer: SCALE! We can scale when needed, setting a maximum and minimum level of nodes for each application layer - scaling only when the load balancer needs it. This allowed us to reduce our devops costs by 40% whilst also maintaining an SLA of 99.87%.

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Nilesh B

We collect and process trillions of data points per year, providing a suite of products for analytics and marketing to enterprise customers. As part of our journey to a cloud-native architecture, the Aislelabs engineering team adopted Hashicorp Stack including Nomad as the workload orchestration software after considering a number of solutions, including vanilla Kubernetes, Rancher, DC/OS, Mesos, Docker Swarm, and others.

Nomad provides everything needed to orchestrate all common use scenarios and is a great choice for the majority of teams. It’s great for even the smallest of the teams to mid-sized companies for what they need. Read details at https://www.aislelabs.com/blog/2020/10/26/hashicorp-nomad-workload-orchestration-at-aislelabs/

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Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 30 upvotes · 9M 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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Pros of Kubernetes
Pros of Nomad
  • 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
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5
    No cloud platform lock-in
  • 5
    Promotes modern/good infrascture practice
  • 5
    Open, powerful, stable
  • 5
  • 4
  • 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
  • 2
  • 2
    Everything of CaaS
  • 2
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 2
  • 7
    Built in Consul integration
  • 6
    Easy setup
  • 4
    Bult-in Vault integration
  • 3
    Built-in federation support
  • 2
  • 2
    Autoscaling support
  • 1
    Bult-in Vault inegration
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
    Nice ACL
  • 1
    Managable by terraform
  • 1
    Open source
  • 1
    Multiple workload support
  • 1

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Cons of Kubernetes
Cons of Nomad
  • 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
  • 3
    Easy to start with
  • 1
    HCL language for configuration, an unpopular DSL
  • 1
    Small comunity

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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.

What is Nomad?

Nomad is a cluster manager, designed for both long lived services and short lived batch processing workloads. Developers use a declarative job specification to submit work, and Nomad ensures constraints are satisfied and resource utilization is optimized by efficient task packing. Nomad supports all major operating systems and virtualized, containerized, or standalone applications.

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What companies use Kubernetes?
What companies use Nomad?
See which teams inside your own company are using Kubernetes or Nomad.
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Blog Posts

Dec 8 2020 at 5:50PM


May 21 2020 at 12:02AM

Rancher Labs

KubernetesAmazon EC2Grafana+12
Apr 16 2020 at 5:34AM

Rancher Labs

What are some alternatives to Kubernetes and Nomad?
Docker Swarm
Swarm serves the standard Docker API, so any tool which already communicates with a Docker daemon can use Swarm to transparently scale to multiple hosts: Dokku, Compose, Krane, Deis, DockerUI, Shipyard, Drone, Jenkins... and, of course, the Docker client itself.
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.
Rancher is an open source container management platform that includes full distributions of Kubernetes, Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm, and makes it simple to operate container clusters on any cloud or infrastructure platform.
Docker Compose
With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.
Unlike traditional operating systems, DC/OS spans multiple machines within a network, aggregating their resources to maximize utilization by distributed applications.
See all alternatives