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Docker Alternatives

Docker is the best known and widely used container platform firstly released in March 2013. It is an open-source centralized platform used to easily create, deploy, as well as run applications. It provides various docking tools, plugins, and infrastructure components that allow developers to focuses on writing effective and efficient codes. It supports various cloud platforms and operating systems such as Linux, Windows, Microsoft Azure, macOS, Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run applications.

It includes various components such as Docker client, Docker server, Docker machine, Docker hub, and Docker composes.

Pros of Docker

A list of Pros of Docker is given below -

  • Docker is suitable for both administrators as well as developers.
  • No need to worry about the environment to run applications.
  • It has a public container registry.
  • It makes the development environment portable and easier as compared to other container softwares.
  • It works with various environments like development, test, as well as production.
  • It uses less memory.
  • It allows us to use a remote repository to share our container with others.
  • It provides a continuous deployment and testing environment.

Cons of Docker

There are the following Cons of Docker -

  • Docker is platform dependent.
  • It has poor monitoring capability.
  • The Docker engine only supports its own container format.
  • No full system container.
  • It is difficult to manage a large number of containers.
  • It is not suitable for applications that require a rich graphical interface.

Docker gets a lot of popularity, but Docker is not always a good container option out there. In this page, we will discuss some other Docker alternatives that work similar to Docker and remove its possible drawbacks.

Popular Docker Alternatives

A list of the most popular Docker Alternatives is given below -

  1. Virtual Box
  2. LXC Linux Container
  3. Podman
  4. Windows Hyper-V Containers
  5. Kubernetes
  6. rkt
  7. Containerd
  8. Vagrant
  9. Rancher
  10. OpenVZ
  11. Apache Thrift
  12. runC

1. Virtual Box

Virtual Box is one of the best Docker alternatives and a part of business-oriented computing. It is created by Innotek GmbH on 17 January 2007 and purchased by Sun Microsystems. On 27 January 2010 acquired by Oracle Corporation. It provides a simple, powerful, general-purpose virtualization solution that allows developers to easily set up, create, and run applications on different platforms (any standard X86 OS). We can run VMs on various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, Novell Netware, and more.

Pros of Virtual Box

  • Virtual Box supports a large number of hosts as well as guest operating systems.
  • It is completely free to use.
  • We can quickly build, pause, and remove the Virtual Box for testing.
  • It is very easy to configure Virtual Box.
  • It provides a user-friendly environment.
  • It supports various advanced storage emulation features.
  • It has an unlimited number of Snapshots.
  • It easily integrates with DevOps tools such as Jankins and Chef.

Cons of Virtual Box

  • Virtual Box is less efficient as compared to real machines.
  • It is quite difficult to understand.
  • Slow performance.
  • Some host hardware is not supported by Virtual Box
  • It consumes a High CPU and memory utilization.
  • Poor 3D Graphics support.

2. LXC Linux Container

LXC Linux Container is an older, free, open-source, well-known, low-level container management tool that runs on the isolated workloads. It is written in the Go language. It uses the Unix process model with no central daemon. LXC Linux Container allows us to run more than one process in LXC container, whereas Docker allows us to run a single process in each container. LXC Linux Container includes LXC, LXD, LXFUSE components that allow us to manage containers, images, as well as file systems.

Pros of LXC Linux Container

A list of Pros of LXC Linux Container is given below -

  • LXC is lightweight and easier to manage.
  • It allows us to run more than one process in a single LXC Linux container.
  • It offers a better User interface (UI) and Command Line Interface (CLI) for better container management.
  • It can be configured tts LXD components for both macOS as well as Windows clients.
  • It provides a better way to create and manage applications.
  • It uses various insolation techniques such as IPC, UTS, PID, Chroots, SELinux profile, and Kernel capabilities.

Cons of LXC Linux Container

There are the following cons of LXC Linux Container -

  • Lack of Kubernetes integration.
  • No native implementation for operating systems other than Linux.
  • LXC can only run Linux containers.

3. Podman

Podman (short for Pod Manager) is one of the best, well-known, and commonly used Docker alternatives. It is an open-source daemon less container engine developed by RedHat engineer Dan Walsh in February 2018. It provides various high-performance enterprise solutions to manage containers, pods (a group of containers deployed together on the same host), as well as container images on Linux System. It uses Open Containers Initiative (OCI) containers to easily run, share, find, and deploy applications.

Pros of Podman

Pros of Podman is as follows -

  • Podman manages the entire container ecosystem, including containers, pods, container images, and container volumes.
  • It is simple and easy-to-use.
  • It does not require a daemon to work.
  • It is capable of running containers as well as pods.
  • When a container is running, Podman provides an extra isolation layer.
  • It supports multiple container image formats, including OCI and Docker images.
  • It also supports Docker compatible CLI interface.
  • It provides a more secure way to run containers.
  • It allows us to use virtualized applications without root rights.

Cons of Podman

  • Podman runs only on the Linux platform.
  • It is not capable of managing multiple containers locally.

4. Windows Hyper-V Containers

Windows Hyper-V container is a lightweight alternative to Docker. It is a free, user-friendly, small, lightweight, and standalone container that allows us to create and run multiple containers on a host machine. Hyper-V containers are compatible with various platforms such as Docker, Kubernetes, Windows as well as Linux platforms.

Pros of Windows Hyper-V Containers

There are the following Pros of Windows Hyper-V Containers -

  • Windows Hyper-V Container provides better security.
  • It offers higher levels of portability and isolation.
  • It provides more efficient containers as compared to a full-blown virtual machine.
  • Provides a dedicated Windows kernel.
  • Offers a greater isolated environment for applications.
  • Supports Kubernetes to manage containers.
  • Allows users to manage multiple tasks.
  • Easily integrates with Windows and Azure.
  • Less expensive than other licensed software.
  • Provides full support to manage both Linux based VMs as well as Windows VMs.

Cons of Windows Hyper-V Containers

  • No Graphical User Interface (GUI) and no overhead.
  • Microsoft can't provide support to take full advantage of Linux Container technology.
  • Doesn't support every Linux platform.
  • Host OS (Virtual machine or any physical machine) needs to be installed Hyper-V.
  • Storage problem occurs due to high load systems.
  • Hyper-V containers are not a good choice when the application requires persistent data connections.

5. Kubernetes

Kubernetes (also known as K8s or Kube) is a popular, extensible, open-source, portable, easy-to-learn software container used to manage, deploy, and scale containerized applications. It is developed by a team at Google. Various popular companies such as SAP, Yahoo, Yahoo, Black Rock, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Pokemon Go, Philips, Zulily, and Huawei uses Kubernetes software.

Pros of Kubernetes

A list of Pros of Kubernetes is given below -

  • Kubernetes is a free, open-source, easy-to-learn, flexible, portable, and cost-effective software container.
  • It is the best platform for hosting cloud-native applications.
  • It hosts private, public, hybrid, as well as on-premise clouds.
  • It is very easy to set up and use.
  • It supports various cloud platforms such as Amazon web services (AWS), Azure, as well as Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • It is an excellent tool for managing Docker images.

Cons of Kubernetes

  • Complex monitoring.
  • Slower to reach ROI.
  • It does not deploy source code.

6. rkt

Rkt (also known as CoreOS Rocket) is one of the best and most popular Docker alternatives presented in December 2014. It is an open-source container that offers better security. It supports the Go programming language. It also supports two types of images Docker and appc. Rkt allows cryptographic signature checks on downloaded images so that only trusted containers can be run to the server.

Pros of rkt

There are the following Pros of rkt -

  • Rkt supports Windows and macOS platforms.
  • It supports various container formats, including Docker images.
  • It offers various features such as a pod native approach, a pluggable execution environment, and a web defined surface area.
  • It easily integrates with init systems.
  • It easily integrates with Linux security standards like SELinux.

Cons of rkt

  • Rkt is still under development.
  • Fewer third-party integrations are available as compared to Docker.
  • Additional security requires more time and effort.

7. Contained

Contained is a daemon that acts as an interface between the container engine and container runtimes. It is used by Linux as well Windows platform. It supports OCI images. It uses an abstraction layer that allows us to easily manage container lifecycles, such as container execution, image transfer, certain storage operations, and simple API requests.

Pros of Contained

A list of Pros of Contained is given below -

  • It is available for Linux as well as Windows.
  • It makes containers more portable.
  • It is easier to manage container lifecycles.

Cons of Contained

It provides only a container interface.

8. Vagrant

Vagrant is an open-source tool designed to build, support virtual environments for software development. It uses a simple, open-source, and easy-to-use command line for managing environments. It is written in Ruby. It provides an easy to use a workflow that mainly focuses on automation.

Pros of Vagrant

A list of Pros of Vagrant is given below -

  • Vagrant is easy to configure.
  • It provides a portable work environment.
  • It helps us to maximize productivity and flexibility.
  • It uses various tools such as shell scripts, Chef, and Puppet, to automatically install and configure softwares.
  • It is a free and open-source software tool.
  • It supports multiple platforms.
  • It is easy to re-create a server environment.
  • It provides a reliable virtual environment for web development.

Cons of Vagrant

  • Lack of Graphical User Interface (GUI).
  • Compatibility issues with operating systems.
  • Technical expertise required.
  • Issues related to file permissions.
  • It can be difficult to set up.

9. Rancher

Rancher is one of the best Docker alternatives. It is an open-source complete software platform that allows organizations to run containers in production. It also allows us to deploy and manage multiple Kubernetes clusters. Rancher contains mainly four components that are - Infrastructure orchestration, Container orchestration and scheduling, application catalog, as well as enterprise-grade control. Rancher easily integrates with other infrastructure tools such as CI/CD tools, code repositories, user management, and monitoring.

Pros of Rancher

A list of Pros of Rancher is given below -

  • Rancher provides hybrid and multi-cloud support.
  • It is easier to deliver Kubernetes as a Service to development teams.
  • It offers various security features.
  • We get 24 * 7 technical support for Rancher products.
  • It is available on a wide variety of cloud platforms as well as edge environments.
  • It allows us to easily deploy a containerized environment.
  • It includes both a web-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) as well as a command-line interface (CLI).
  • It supports multiple operating systems.

Cons of Rancher

There are the following Cons of Rancher -

  • Rancher is not a suitable container for heavy-duty security.
  • VMs run using CRDs.
  • It does not provide private registry capability.
  • Its offline installation is not easy.

10. OpenVZ

OpenVZ is an open-source, container-based virtualization platform released in 2005. It allows us to run multiple virtual private servers and environments on a single Linux operating system. It provides a wide range of dynamic resource management, including memory usage, CPU usage, number of processes, disk space usage, CPU usage, and more. It requires both hosts as well as guest OS.

Pros of OpenVZ

A list of Pros of OpenVZ is given below -

  • OpenVZ is a free, open-source containerization tool.
  • It runs on multiple virtual environments.
  • It provides better server utilization and ensures that applications do not conflict.
  • It allows administrators to deploy multiple independent instances of an Operating system on a web server.
  • A very low memory footprint.
  • Better performance to KVM.
  • It offers a large number of resource management parameters.
  • It is usually a good choice for those who don't have special requirements less overhead.

Cons of OpenVZ

There are the following Cons of OpenVZ -

  • OpenVZ is not ideal for single applications.
  • There is no Kubernetes and CRI integration.
  • Not all kernel modules are available.
  • Software application development is complicated.
  • It can only run on Linux-based operating systems such as Fedora, Debian, and Centos.
  • All operating systems share only one kernel.

11. Apache Mesos

Apache Mesos is a commonly used Docker alternative. It is developed at the University of California at Berkeley. Apache Mesos is a free, open-source cluster manager that distributes efficient resources across the applications as well as databases. Some popular frameworks, including Hadoop, Ruby on Rails, Storm, Jboss, Data Grid, MPI, Spark, and Node.js, run on Mesos. Apache Mesos support CPU, memory, I/O, file system, disk, GPU, and other modules for custom resource isolation. Large Companies like Twitter, Apple, Airbnb, and Xogito use Apache Mesos.

Pros of Apache Mesos

A list of Pros of Apache Mesos is given below -

  • Apache Mesos is a free, open-source, and popular platform.
  • It helps us to shift workload automatically.
  • It provides native support to launch containers with Docker and AppC images.
  • It can easily run on Linux, OSX, and Windows.
  • It does not require workloads to use container images.
  • It is supported by a large community.
  • It can manage and run Docker containers with Chronos as well as the Marathon framework.

Cons of Apache Mesos

There are the following cons of Apache Mesos -

  • A high-speed internet connection is required to load Apache Mesos UI.
  • It does not focus on web application deployment.
  • No real logging solution.
  • Suitable only for Linux.

12. runC

runC is a widely used Docker alternative. It is a lightweight, open-source, standardized, portable, interoperable OS container. It helps us to improve the portability of containers. It can work both as a part of Docker and without Docker in other container systems. It does have a concept of images like Podman or Docker.

Pros of runC

A list of Pros of runC is given below -

  • runC helps us to improve container portability.
  • It supports all current Linux distributions.
  • It has the ability to run containers without root privileges.
  • It is a lightweight cost-saving platform for developers.

Cons of runC

  • runC requires some external tools to create container images.
  • It is only suitable for the Linux platform.

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