Docker and Kubernetes have been game-changers in the world of cloud-native technologies. The container revolution owes itself to these two platforms, and the world of microservices wouldn’t be the same without them.
But how do these platforms relate to each other? Are the two competitors, or do they work well together? Although both Kubernetes and Docker can work with third-party engine platforms like this one, they serve different functions for container management. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of those functions and how they compare to each other.
Essentially, Docker is used to manage containers: its suite of tools, from Docker Build to Docker Swarm, allow you to create self-sufficient and portable containers.
Docker Build works as the name suggests: it gives you everything you’ll need to run an application, and its integrated Docker Compose tool lets you run multi-container applications.
Docker Engine can run your containers in practically any environment. Docker Hub finds and shares container images with other users on the hub.
And Docker Swarm helps you manage clusters of Engines (referred to as a swarm).
The great thing about using Docker is how portable it makes your containers. You can run these containers wherever you want, no matter which host you use.
But if you’re looking to branch out of microservice-based apps, Docker might not be a great fit. Its containers are pretty solid but have a lot of inherent baggage that creates more overhead than you’ll want to make a monolith.
What about Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is all about managing your containerized applications. Unlike Docker Swarm, Kubernetes is the standard for organizing your containers because it works for big projects.
Its design optimizes your host’s computing resources and organizes your containers accordingly. It also automatically repairs and restarts your containers if they crash.
The benefits of Kubernetes are self-explanatory. It runs a lot of basic operations for you and meets the need for developers to manage large numbers of containers. In addition, its open-source community promotes co-building and collaboration.
But keep in mind that Google made Kubernetes. And unless you haven’t noticed, Google runs billions of containers daily. So, Kubernetes is built to handle many containers, making it a bit much for small projects, even though it’s optimized to do a lot of work for you.
How do they compare?
Both Docker and Kubernetes are technologies that work within the open cloud. These platforms work well separately but also work well in tandem. The main difference between the two is their primary functionality.
Docker is made to package containerized applications into a node, and Kubernetes runs those nodes across a cluster. Docker assembles the building blocks, and Kubernetes puts those blocks together and keeps them from falling apart.
When used together, Docker and Kubernetes are a perfect fit. If you run multiple containers, using them together is ideal. Docker can handle the developmental side of things, while Kubernetes can manage your containers and run them efficiently.
But as mentioned earlier, Kubernetes is primed to run a large number of containers at once. So if you work on a smaller project, Docker would be the smartest choice.
What about Docker Swarm?
Docker Swarm is another good platform to manage your containers. It’s considered more straightforward to use than Kubernetes but isn’t as limitless for the platform’s scalability.
And depending on where you run your containers, Docker Swarm might not be supported by your public cloud. Still, Swarm’s ease of use and secure protection of your projects make it a solid choice for smaller projects.
If you’d like to work with Docker Swarm, you’ll need to understand the platform. Swarm’s limited functionality means you’ll need to think outside the box to optimize your apps.
You’ll need to handle your containers’ scaling manually, but Swarm’s integration with other Docker tools makes this manageable.
Before you go
Both Docker and Kubernetes are solid platforms for your microservice development needs. Containers won’t be going any time soon, and having the ability to build and run multiple containers is essential. And whether you decide to use Docker or Kubernetes or run them in tandem, you’ll be working with reliable toolsets that were made with developers in mind.
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