Kubernetes vs Docker: A Helpful Guide for Picking One

If you have ever heard about cloud computing, then you would have definitely heard a lot about Kubernetes vs Docker. There has been a huge transformation as the companies started moving towards cloud computing. According to Forbes, 74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) believe that cloud computing will have the most amount of impact on businesses in 2017.

If you are giving a thought to utilize containers for managing an application, there are various technologies to help you out. The trend of moving towards the cloud platform has given a rise to various cloud-based technologies for building, running, deploying, and managing applications. While talking about containerization, docker and kubernetes are the first to think about. Docker is a computer application that utilizes containerization concepts, while Kubernetes is a complete container orchestration system.

Before we compare both the most raging cloud computing concepts, let us discuss what is kubernetes and docker.

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is considered to be one of the most popular container orchestration systems that had been open-sourced in the year 2014 by Google. Kubernetes is a platform for general purposes and it works as a perfect competitor with virtual machines. Kubernetes or Kube makes it pretty easy for the developers to run, automate, scale, and manage container-based workloads in the live production environments.

Kubernetes could be scaled up or down based on the requirements at any time. The core architectural elements of Kubernetes are:

  • Nodes
  • Clusters
  • Containers
  • Pods
  • Deployments
  • Services
  • APIs
  • Masters
  • kubectl

Some of the key features that help Kubernetes for the maintenance of containerized applications are listed below:

  • Discovery of service
  • Automation of application deployment
  • Administering storage
  • Self-healing and auto repair
  • Monitoring the health of the container
  • Balancing the data volumes
  • Managing the configurations

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What is Kubernetes good at?

Kubernetes is utilized to make sure that your application is running in the way it was designed to run. Kubernetes will not only look at whether all the containers are up and running or not, but it will also make the application self-healing. Whenever a container is unresponsive, it would be replaced with a new container.

Kubernetes is useful in scaling up the application horizontally. When you have plenty of loads to handle, Kubernetes would start up new containers that would be handling the CPU-intensive parts of the application. It can minimize downtime and also simplify the deployments of applications. Kubernetes also allows you to run the existing version of the application while you are deploying the new version. The users of your app won't notice any downtime as the older version would be running until the new version is correctly started.

Kubernetes is capable of performing various functions. This is the reason why it is pretty much difficult to learn everything about kubernetes. You must look out for different resources that could help you in expanding your learning for kubernetes.

What is Kubernetes not good at?

The most significant issue with Kubernetes is that it is very complicated to understand. It is capable of doing various things, but you might get frustrated to learn everything and figure out all the steps for deploying your application.

Another major problem of Kubernetes is that it is not completely secure. It is configured through a shared token which allows it to get modified while the existing version is running. If an attacker is successful in gaining access to this token, then the entire container system would be compromised. Even sharing the data with efficiency among the clusters of containers is a very big challenge.

What is Docker?

Docker is a much simpler containerization tool as compared to Kubernetes. Docker is a platform for app development as well as management. Docker was open-source from the beginning, and it provided the services of cloud-enabled container building, deploying, implementing, and effortlessly managing the container.

The most significant benefit of Docker is that its working is relatively simple as compared to Kubernetes. This is the reason why people were more driven towards Docker certification. Docker packaged the codes along with all the dependencies into containers with the use of OS-level virtualization. The ultimate results of this process were enhanced efficiency and speed. Due to this reason, the applications could be containerized without making any major changes to the architecture, and it could be scaled up or down without having a look at how the new infrastructure is working for the new hosts.

Docker is a toolkit that comprises various tools among which the primary tools are Docker Swarm and Docker Compose.

The architecture of Docker Swarm has been designed around a cluster of nodes that are running virtual or physical Docker Engines. This tool allows the user to manage and control the clusters as well as the orchestrating features available in the engine.

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What is Docker good at?

Docker is used in a perfect way to run an application in a portable container image by wrapping up all the packages as well as the configurations that are required. Docker Hub will share the image on the internet or the local network.

Docker is pretty much useful for building a complex software application where you need to use several combinations of containers. For example, you might need a message queue, an application server, and a database for a complex application, and all three of them would be running side-by-side with the use of Docker configurations.

If you are building something that possesses different requirements for every server, you need not worry as Docker could handle it pretty easily. You can experiment with new libraries as every container could be retrieved back to the previously saved image. So, no matter how wrong you do, there is no need to worry as everything could be brought back to normal within a few seconds.

The most significant benefit of Docker is that it provides enhanced security. If there are two different containers used for the application server and the database server, the attacker won't be able to access the data in the database server even if the application server is compromised.

What is Docker not good at?

The main downside of Docker is that it uses virtual environments for running the applications and this makes it considerably slow and low performing as compared to the dedicated environments. If you want to run an application with Graphical User Interface, you should not consider Docker as it would be very tough to run a GUI on Docker.

If your application demands you to run two services at the same time on the same machine, then Docker containers won’t be a good option for you. There are ways to mitigate these issues, and you would be able to tune Docker as per the performance that you need. But, you need to spend some time on Docker to make all the necessary arrangements.

Difference between Docker and Kubernetes

Usually, when people discuss Kubernetes vs Docker, what they really mean is Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm. Docker Swarm is a clustering solution that is offered for the Docker containers, and it has been integrated into its ecosystem.

The main work of both Docker and Kubernetes is to automate the processes and break an entire application into containers. They both have the same functionality, but they handle the issues in different ways.

1. Installation

Kubernetes has to be installed manually and the process would be different based on the provider as well as the OS. There are various options available for installing Kubernetes.

Docker is installed with the use of a one-line command in Linux. The installation of Docker is pretty simple with the use of a step-by-step guide.

2. Scalability

Scalability is an important factor for cloud applications and Kubernetes works with its built-in horizontal auto scaling feature. The number of nodes being used in the cluster could be adjusted dynamically as per the demand and the load.

Docker Swarm has a feature of scalability that could be handled automatically as well as through a command. The worker nodes could be configured for scaling at any time.

3. Availability

Kubernetes has high availability of services along with its most significant self-healing and intelligent scheduling features. The unhealthy nodes are detected in no time and they would be deactivated within no time.

Docker Swarm offers availability through replication. If any host goes down, the cloned services in Swarm would be providing the required redundancy. Swarm Managers are utilized for availability controls of the cluster as well as nodes.

4. Load Balancing

HTTP route or the IP addresses are used for accessing the applications in the container. As the pods are discovered via their services and IP addresses only through a single DNS name, there exists efficient load balancing. Similar to the installation process, load balancing in Kubernetes also needs to be handled through manual configurations.

Docker is very well-known for its pretty amazing internal load balancing. According to the assigned DNS names, the requests are delivered to the balancer. The load is distributed among the internal and external load balancers.

There is no end to the debate of Kubernetes vs Docker because both technologies have several advantages as well as disadvantages. You should choose technology based on your application requirements.

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Armin Vans
Archer Charles has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.



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