Top 10 Docker Alternatives You Must Know

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27th Jul, 2022
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Top 10 Docker Alternatives You Must Know

With time and advancements in technology, applications are getting more complex. Earlier, we relied on virtual machines, but they require their OS, leading to bulky applications. But using the container technology, everything seems easier to manage, even handling the thousands of applications simultaneously. Containers isolate the applications from each other so they can run independently on any platform.

Container bundles up the applications and their dependencies and libraries into a package that becomes easier to handle and modify that will not impact the working of other applications or the system. Despite this ease, managing thousands of containers simultaneously requires a more robust platform. Thus, Docker comes to the rescue. 

In 2013, Docker marked its presence as an open-source project. It has changed the complete landscape application development cycle. It is now getting more popular among developers, thus rising to more suitable roles in the market. For better job opportunities, you can even go for docker certifications. But in some cases, developers do not find Docker helpful as per their working scenario, so they look for a docker desktop alternative. This article has curated a list of top ten docker desktop alternatives. 

Docker - An Overview

With Docker, you can easily and quickly create, deploy, and run applications. Docker has eliminated the need to rely on the underlying infrastructure to run your applications. It uses containerized applications that are the bundle of applications with the dependencies required for proper functioning. You can move such containers to any platform and deploy them without even checking the system specifications. But make sure that the Docker platform is there to manage your containerized application. 

Docker is preferred over virtual machines as it uses the same OS kernel for all the applications, thus increasing the efficiency of running multiple applications. It makes the application lightweight, thus increasing the performance.

But how does Docker manage to run these containers? Docker optimizes the use of the system’s resources for running these containers without exhausting the resources. To know how does Docker is connected with DevOps, you can go through devops courses online. You can even integrate it with your DevOps process. 

Docker Alternatives

Despite several features and advantages, some developers are not completely happy with Docker. Thus, they look for some close alternatives that will solve their purpose of handling concurrent containers efficiently. Below are some significant reasons that divert the developers from using Docker. 

  • First, using Docker needs technical expertise. It is challenging to learn, thus having a steep learning curve. Some issues need to be handled by administrators only, such as monitoring the application’s performance. You need to integrate the third party to get deeper insights into your application's performance. 
  • Docker does not have straightforward data storage; you need to store some of your data outside the container, which might impact its security. So make sure you move the data to somewhere secure. 
  • Also, for orchestrating the containers, you must be technically suffice to configure and manage the orchestration tools, such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, etc.
  • You must include more security levels as compared to the traditional stack.

This could be a challenge for developers if they do not know what tools to use and how to use them. If they go for additional or third-party tools for managing all the cases, it will become costly to use Docker. If you are struggling to find the best alternative to Docker, you must consider the following list. 

  1. Podman
    Podman

It is an open-source virtualization platform introduced by RedHat. It is a docker desktop alternative for mac. 

  • Like Docker, it lets you create, manage, and deploy containers on Linux systems. 
  • It has a container engine that runs on a daemonless architecture. Thus, there is no need for root privileges to execute any container.
  • It runs the containers in the background as it integrates directly with the system daemon. 
  • Due to its daemons, the container engine is highly secure as the container will execute with the user’s privileges, making containers less prone to attacks. 
  • To run podman on your system needs installation of additional features allowing rootless containers to run on the user’s namespace.
  • You can integrate podman with third-party developer tools for enhancing its functionality. 
  1. OpenVZ

OpenVz

  • Virtuozzo introduced it as a Linux-based containerization technology, offering features similar to Docker. 
  • It lets you create many isolated Linux containers on a single Linux server that are ultimately used to create an isolated environment to host virtual servers. 
  • Each container can be a standalone server with independent root access, IP address, system libraries, memory, etc. It creates less conflict among containers. 
  • It has a unique feature- NFS (network file system), allowing you to access network disks from virtual servers hosted on it. 
  • This platform also serves as a powerful hypervisor that can host virtual servers for offering distributed cloud storage, consistent support, container management tools, and other functionalities.
  1. VirtualBox

VirtualBox

  • It was introduced in 2007, offering similar features and functionalities to Docker. 
  • This virtual platform allows developers to create and execute applications. 
  • Developers use VirtualBox to create multiple VMs that can be seamlessly run on different operating systems. 
  • It is suitable for that application that requires a different OS to execute. 
  • VirtualBox does not share the host’s Operating System kernel and thus is highly secured. 
  • You can use VirtualBox on any platform. 
  1. Kubernetes (K8)

Kubernetes

  • It is the best container orchestration system, and another docker compose alternative. Google introduced it to manage containerized applications in different environments. You can also use it as a portainer alternative. 
  • It can seamlessly manage more than thousands of containers simultaneously. 
  • It lets you run several containerized applications without knowing about their hosting platform. 
  • It is an API that coordinates, controls, and schedules several containers. 
  • Kubernetes can manage several nodes, where a node is a cluster of containers, unlike Docker, which can manage one node. 
  • Also, it has an automatic rescheduling of the inactive nodes. 
  • One of the most important things is that you can combine Docker with Kubernetes for better management of containers. You can go for Docker and Kubernetes certification for better understanding. 
  • It has a built-in isolation mechanism that lets you group the containers based on root privileges, ensuring security. 
  • It emphasizes team collaboration that eases the multiple container and resources management processes. 
  1. LXC (Linux Containers)

Linux Containers

  • A Linux-based containerization engine is available as another important Docker alternative. 
  • You can use LXC as a hypervisor to create multiple Linux machines with different system files, networking features, and applications. 
  • It is much older than Docker but has gained popularity again with its powerful comeback by overcoming its pitfalls, such as reduced disk performance, weak volume management, and others. 
  • It is lightweight, just like Docker, making it easy to deploy.
  • You can use LXC for data-intensive applications. 
  1. Microsoft Azure Container Registry

Microsoft Azure Conatainer Regestry

  • It is another popular and commonly used docker hub alternative. 
  • It is a private Docker registry, especially used by the developers to store and manage their container images using DCLI (Docker command-line interface) tools.
  • It has more robust security options that let you scan the container vulnerability, protect the runtime, and are TwistLock compatible, adding an extra layer of security to your containers. 
  • Using Microsoft Azure, you can quickly move from the monolithic architecture to the containerized environment without affecting the application’s performance. 
  • You can easily manage your containers without any expertise in running this platform. You need to have basic technical knowledge. 
  • Developers can run and scale using orchestration platforms like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and others. 
  • It is similar to the Docker Hub as it provides a catalog of container images, grants users direct control of the content of the containers, enables integrated authentication for more security, supports the geo-replication of services, etc. 
  1. Containerd

Containerd

  • It is a standalone container runtime with several features, such as simplicity, robustness, and portability. 
  • It runs as part of Docker container services. 
  • On February 28, 2019, Docker announced it as a standalone component. 
  • You do not have to install Docker; you can run it using runc. But with the Docker installation, you will get Containerd automatically. 
  • The API of Containerd gives you complete control to orchestrate containers in a virtual environment. 
  • It offers you functionalities like push and pulls, managing container creation, executing applications using Image management APIs, managing snapshots, and others. 
  1. Rancher

Rancher

  • It was introduced as a high-level orchestration software that lets the developers manage container clusters.
  • It is a docker desktop alternative for windows. 
  • Rancher makes complex tasks easier with automation. It reduces the monotonous and manual efforts by automating the general tasks. 
  1. Vagrant

Vagrant

  • It is a HashiCorp tool replicating multiple virtual environments across different virtual machines and OS. 
  • It lets you set up a virtual environment that you can replicate multiple times across different networks. 
  • You can run it on all major virtualization platforms, such as VirtualBox and VMware, offering users the highest isolation levels. 
  1. ZeroVM

ZeroVM

  • It is open-source, lightweight virtualization technology.
  • Users use it to create a secure environment for embedding applications. 
  • It lets you virtualize at the application level by embedding an application in an isolated environment for quick deployment. 
  • As data is embedded in an isolated environment, it is highly secured. 

Conclusion

If you are facing issues while working with Docker, you can pick any of the docker alternatives 2022. All the alternatives are open-source and are simple to use. They offer the same level of features and functionalities and even more. They were introduced to overcome the pitfalls of Docker. You can go through the above features and choose based on your requirement. Also, you should not be technically strong and need the expertise to use them. So, go through the entire list. Hopefully, you will find your choice of Docker's alternative to the docker desktop and macOS docker desktop alternative. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Kubernetes a Docker alternative?

In straightforward terms, Docker is a container that can run a process. At the same time, the Kubernetes is a framework for orchestrating containers.

2. Is Docker going away?

Yes, it sounds like this that the Docker is fading away. Kubernetes has deprecated the Docker runtime as of version 1.20 and is now shifting to the Container Runtime Interface (CRI), expanding its support for a broader set of container runtimes. 

3. What are docker alternatives?

Below is the list- 

  • ZeroVM 
  • Vagrant 
  • Rancher 
  • Containerd 
  • Microsoft Azure Container registry 
  • Linux containers LXC 
  • Kubernetes 
  • Podman 
  • VirtualBox 
  • OpenVZ 
Profile

Aashiya Mittal

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Aashiya has worked as a freelancer for multiple online platforms and clients across the globe. She has almost 4 years of experience in content creation and is known to deliver quality content. She is versed in SEO and relies heavily on her research capabilities.

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