Docker vs Kubernetes

Docker vs Kubernetes

In this data-driven and cloud-native era, businesses have migrated their architecture and infrastructure to cloud computing, container orchestration, and containerization. Some of the most popular names in these areas are Dockers and Kubernetes have changed the way businesses develop and deploy at a large scale. Anyone who is working with software development, whether you are a Product Manager, Data Scientist, or Software Developer, will have to know about these two primary tools- Docker and Kubernetes, so that you can work efficiently and show productive results in your software development and management. Knowing about both these tools would certainly help individuals manage their software processes and also help them become better professionals. You have to know what is the difference between Docker and Kubernetes and know which would be a better tool to be used for your project. This article focuses on the details of Docker and Kubernetes and highlights the major differences between the two platforms. 


What is Docker?

Docker could be defined as a containerization platform that clubs all the applications and their associations in the form of a Docker container. The growing DevOps trend poses many challenges which the Docker platform tends to solve. Using containers, a professional can use Docker to create, deploy, and run applications as Docker makes it simple and hassle-free. A modern Developer needs containers to store their applications and their dependencies which includes all the relevant packages such as the operating system, system tools, application code, system libraries, runtime, etc. Before the introduction of Dockers, Developers used virtual machines to store their applications which only stored a limited amount of data and could handle fewer applications. Containers such as Docker, on the other hand, take up less space than the virtual machines and can take up more applications. Using Docker, the developers can easily run their application in the same environment without any OS issues as Docker has its OS. 

If you consider this scenario, before and after Docker, you realize the importance of Docker.

  • Before Docker: A developer spends a specific code to the tester where the code does not run on the tester’s end due to various dependencies, however, it is working fine at the developer’s end. 
  • After Docker: Both the tester and the developer have the same system running on the Docker container, and hence both can run the application without having to face dependency issues. 


Which professionals use Docker?

The system administrators and the developers both benefit from Docker as it is a part of the DevOps (developers + operations) toolchain. By using Docker, the developers do not have to worry about the system on which their code will be working on. Developers can also get started easily by using one of the thousands of programs that are pre-designed to be executed in a Docker container as it is a part of the Docker application. Docker gives flexibility and decreases the total number of systems required as it has a lower overhead and a small footprint which is beneficial for the operations staff. 


Docker features

  • Operational efficiencies
  • Managing your applications in isolated environments
  • Affinity/placements
  • Easy modeling
  • Productivity of developers
  • Agility of applications
  • Version control


Docker Advantages

  • Works and integrates with the existing Docker tools
  • Can easily track the Docker container versions to evaluate any discrepancies between prior versions. 
  • Offers easier and efficient initial set up
  • The application lifecycle could be described in detail using Docker
  • Docker-compose simplifies the interaction and configuration
  • Applications can run in a virtual environment quickly as Docker offers a quick-paced environment that enhances the virtual machine. 
  • Every application in Docker is isolated
  • Business gets boosted as Docker offers fast and simple configuration. 
  • Documentation shows all the information of the application in detail


Disadvantage of Docker

  • The monitoring option is not very efficient
  • Inactive nodes are not automatically rescheduled. 
  • Docker does not have a storage option
  • Horizontal scaling set up is complicated
  • Multiple instances need manual handling
  • Basic infrastructure needs to be handled
  • All Actions in Dockers has to be performed in CLI
  • Monitoring, scaling, and healing, requires other tools for production aspects
  • Health checks are not supported
  • Critical components such as Docker desktop, and Docker-engine are not open-source as Docker is a for-profit SaaS company.


What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is considered as cloud computing’s next big wave. It is a tool that helps to manage containers and helps in deployment automation and management of containers. As you are developing applications and storing them in containers, you will end up with thousands of them over time which has to be deployed, managed, connected, and updated. If you do not use the Kubernetes application and were to do all these tasks manually, you would require an entire team dedicated to this work. Just running containers would not be sufficient, you should be able to make them tolerant to a fault, scale up and down depending on the demand, integrate and orchestrate the modular parts, and communication across clusters should be provided. Applications such as Kubernetes sit on top of containers and are known as container schedulers. It is a container management software that is open-source built on a google platform. Containerized applications in the cloud, physical, and virtual environments can easily be managed using Kubernetes. Complex applications can be delivered using Kubernetes as it can run a cluster of thousands of individual servers. 


Features of Kubernetes

  • A higher density of resource utilization is provided
  • Testing, development, and production has an environment consistent with the use of Kubernetes
  • It is an application-centric management
  • Automated scheduling is offered
  • Enterprise-ready features are available
  • Rollback and rollouts are automated
  • Capabilities of self-healing are offered
  • Loading balancing and horizontal scaling could be used
  • A predictable infrastructure could be created
  • Infrastructure is auto-scalable
  • Declarative configuration is provided by the application
  • The software can be deployed and updated at a large scale


Advantages of Kubernetes

  • It has one of the largest container orchestration tool community
  • A valuable industry such as Google has developed the tool which brings the experience of high quality to the table.
  • The service organization is easy with pods
  • On-premises SANs, and public clouds, and other variety of storage options are available.
  • Immutable infrastructure principles are followed 


Kubernetes Disadvantages

  • It is not compatible with Docker CLI and composes tools
  • Automatic horizontal scaling setup and manual cluster deployment are complicated. 
  • The configuration/installation process is tedious and highly complex
  • The functionality depends on the availability of Docker API
  • Stateless migration requires much effort

What is the difference between Docker and Kubernetes?

You have to understand that both Docker and Kubernetes are two different technologies that are designed such that they are used together. They do not compete with each other and there should not be a confusion of which is better, Docker or Kubernetes. This being understood, let’s see what exactly is the difference between the two applications. Both these tools have their roles to play in DevOps and are used together frequently. The fundamental difference between Docker and Kubernetes is that Docker is a containerization technology used to isolate the applications into containers, whereas Kubernetes is a container management software that is used to handle different containers and used to deploy and scale your applications.


The key comparison between the two technologies are:

  • Docker is developed by Docker Inc and Kubernetes is developed by Google
  • Docker does not support autoscaling whereas Kubernetes supports.
  • Docker swarm supports about 2000 nodes and Kubernetes supports 5000 nodes
  • Docker provides high fault tolerance, and Kubernetes provides low fault tolerance.
  • Docker is highly customizable and comprehensive, but Kubernetes is less extensive and customizable.


Kubernetes vs Docker





Company developed 

Docker Inc



Autoscaling not available 

Autoscaling present

Installation process

Easy and fast

Complex and time-consuming

Setting up cluster

It is challenging and complicated and cluster strength is more.

Cluster strength is not as strong but the setting up of clusters requires only two commands as it is easy and simple.

Year released



Logging in and monitoring support 

Allows the third-party app to monitor 

Has built-in application for monitoring


Faster than Kubernetes

Slower than Docker

Loading balance

Automatic loading balance

Manually configuring the loading balance


In place, agent update can be performed

In place, the cluster can be upgraded

Optimized for 

Single large cluster

Multiple smaller cluster of SDLC

Tolerance ratio

High fault

Low fault

Public cloud service provider


AWS, Azure, and Google

Which is better: Docker or Kubernetes?

As explained, both are different technologies, and the obvious answer after you understand what is the function of each application is that both of them should be used simultaneously. Kubernetes is designed such that it can work hand-in-hand with Docker as the Kubernetes documentation was written keeping Docker in mind. Kubernetes includes Docker-centric tools such as Compose which converts the Docker-compose command and settings and makes it usable by Kubernetes. Hence, both must be used along with each other to get the full experience and efficiency of software development and management.



Concerning the industry standards, both Docker and Kubernetes are experts in their field. They provide a well-structured platform for the management of containers, orchestration at scale, and deployment. So when you want to compare both the software technology, you have to understand that both works along with each other and there was never actually a question of which is better. It is always Docker and Kubernetes which is even true at the present times.

Hence, when before you look at the differences between the two, it becomes essential that you have understood their definitions and what their functions are. This would easily help you to differentiate between the two software tools.