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Comparison between Kubernetes and Docker

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By cyphershieldtechPublished 3 months ago 5 min read

Docker is a containerization platform and container runtime, while Kubernetes is a platform for running and managing containers from numerous container runtimes. Kubernetes supports docker and many container runtimes.

The arrival of Docker in 2013 ushered in the modern era of containers and microservices-based computing infrastructure. Because containers do not have their own operating systems, they facilitate the development of loosely interconnected, flexible microservices by allowing teams to declaratively package applications as container images, including dependencies and configurations

However, as applications became more complex to include containers distributed across different servers, problems began to arise; for example, how to coordinate and schedule multiple containers, how to enable communication between containers, or how to scale container instances. Kubernetes was created to solve these types of problems.

In container technology, Docker and Kubernetes are two reference tools. You may be wondering which one is better. Often, the key is not choosing one or the other, but knowing how they can be used together for optimal results.

What is Docker?

Docker is a commercial containerization platform and container runtime that helps developers build, deploy, and run containers.It has a client-server design, utilizing automation via a single API and straightforward commands.

It also includes a toolkit that is typically used to package applications as immutable container images by writing a Dockerfile and then running the appropriate commands to create the image using the Docker server. Custom software development company can create containers without Docker, but with this platform the process will be easier. After that, these container images can be installed and used on any platform that supports them, including HashiCorp Nomad, Mesos, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes.

Although Docker allows you to efficiently package and distribute containerized applications, it is difficult to run and manage containers at scale with this tool alone. Some of the issues that can be problematic include coordinating and scheduling containers across servers and clusters, updating or deploying applications without downtime, and monitoring container health.

To solve these and other problems, solutions were created to orchestrate containers, such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, Mesos or HashiCorp Nomad, among others. These tools enable organizations to manage large volumes of containers and users, effectively balance loads, provide authentication and security, perform cross-platform deployments, and more.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes, or K8s, is a popular open source platform that orchestrates container runtime systems across a cluster of networked resources. Docker is not required to use Kubernetes.

It was originally developed by Google, which needed a new way to run billions of containers per week at scale. It was published in 2014 as an open source platform and is currently the industry-standard and market-leading orchestration tool for deploying containers and distributed applications. As Google notes, "Kubernetes' primary goal is to make it easier to deploy and manage complex distributed systems, while continuing to benefit from the enhanced use of containers."

Kubernetes places a set of containers in a cluster that you manage on the same machine to reduce network overhead and increase resource usage efficiency. An example of a container set could be an application server, a Redis cache, or an SQL database. For Docker containers, this is one process per container.

Advantages of Kubernetes

Kubernetes, often described as “the Linux of the cloud,” has every reason to be the most popular container orchestration platform. These are some:

Automated operations

Kubernetes includes a powerful API and command-line tool, called kubectl, that takes care of much of the heavy-duty container management tasks by automating operations. The Kubernetes controller pattern allows applications and containers to run exactly as specified.

Infrastructure abstraction

Kubernetes manages the resources you make available to it. This way, developers can focus on writing application code and forget about the underlying compute, networking, or storage infrastructure.

Monitoring the status of services

Kubernetes monitors the running environment and compares it to the desired state. Performs automatic health checks on services and restarts containers that have failed or stopped. Kubernetes only makes services available when they are running and ready.

Comparison between Kubernetes and Docker

Docker is a container runtime, while Kubernetes is a platform for running and managing containers from many container runtimes. Kubernetes supports numerous container runtimes, such as Docker, containerd, CRI-O, and any Kubernetes CRI (Container Runtime Interface) implementation. Kubernetes could be understood as an "operating system" and Docker containers as the "applications" that are installed on it.

On its own, Docker is very beneficial for modern application development and solves the classic problem of “it works on my machine” but not on others. The Docker Swarm container orchestration tool can manage the deployment of a production container-based workload made up of multiple containers. When a system grows and has to add many containers networked together, Docker can independently address some growing problems that Kubernetes helps solve.

When comparing both tools, it is better to compare Kubernetes with Docker Swarm. Docker Swarm, or Docker swarm mode, is a container orchestration tool like Kubernetes, meaning it allows you to manage multiple containers deployed on different hosts running Docker Server. Swarm mode is disabled by default and must be installed and configured by a DevOps team.

Kubernetes orchestrates clusters of machines to work together and schedules containers to run on those machines based on the resources they have available. Containers are grouped through a declarative definition into pods, the basic unit of Kubernetes. Kubernetes automatically handles tasks such as service discovery, load balancing, resource allocation, isolation, and scaling pods up and down. It has been adopted by the open source community and is now part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google offer managed Kubernetes services on their cloud computing platforms, significantly reducing the workload of running and maintaining Kubernetes clusters and their containerized workloads.

Docker or Kubernetes: which one is best for you?

Since both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes are container orchestration platforms, which should you choose?

Docker Swarm typically installs faster and requires less configuration than Kubernetes if you build and run your own infrastructure. It offers the same benefits as Kubernetes, such as deploying applications through declarative YAML files, automatically scaling services to the desired state, load balancing across cluster containers, and controlling security and access across all your software development services. If you run few workloads, don't mind managing your own infrastructure, or don't need a specific Kubernetes feature, Docker Swarm can be a great option.

Kubernetes is more difficult to install at first, but offers greater flexibility and more features. It is also widely supported by an active open source community. Kubernetes offers several out-of-the-box deployment strategies, can manage the traffic your network receives, and provides container observability capabilities. Major cloud providers offer managed Kubernetes services that make it much easier to get started with cloud-native features like auto-scaling. If you run many workloads and need cloud-native interoperability, and also have many teams in your organization (which requires better isolation of services), Kubernetes is the platform for you.

Compass and container orchestration

Regardless of which orchestration solution you choose, it's important that you use a tool to manage the complexity of your distributed architecture as you scale. Atlassian Compass is an extensible experience platform for developers that brings together, in one centralized, searchable place, disconnected information about engineering processes and team collaboration. In addition to helping you monitor your microservice expansion with Component Catalog, Compass can help you establish best practices and assess the health of your software with dashboards, as well as provide actionable data and insights across your DevOps toolchain. through extensions created on the Atlassian Forge platform.

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