In order to adopt an agile software development methodology, companies must take into account the enormous potential that containers offer for deploying their applications and services. Containers provide the invaluable standardisation required for generating cross-platform applications that can be executed on any system with a compatible runtime environment.
Which particular runtime are you presently utilising? Although Docker has been the primary preference of container runtime environments for a considerable duration, Kubernetes has recently initiated actions to phase out the Docker runtime. Consequently, some businesses have chosen to migrate from Docker to an alternative runtime to launch their containers. You may wish to explore alternatives to Docker in this scenario. Click here to learn more about Docker, and here to learn more about Kubernetes.
Although Docker is a widely-used container runtime, there are various other solutions accessible in the market. However, if you are satisfied using Docker, it’s crucial to understand that there is no urgent need to switch. Docker is constantly being enhanced and it can be extremely beneficial for deploying containers.
There may be instances where transitioning to another runtime is imperative. For example, if you’ve opted for a Linux distribution like Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), AlmaLinux, or Rocky Linux for your server’s operating system, setting up Docker could be challenging. Under these circumstances, consider moving to an alternative runtime solution.
On the basis of the above, let’s explore several alternatives to Docker.
Are There Docker Alternatives Suitable for Your Business?
The first alternative to consider would be Podman. It’s worth noting that Red Hat Enterprise-based operating systems usually include Podman by default. For those who are already familiar with Docker, Podman can be an easy replacement as it serves as a highly effective alternative to Docker.
Unlike Docker, Podman does not necessitate the presence of a daemon to be operational. Moreover, it works by deploying containers as a child service, resulting in it being a daemon-less container technology.
LXD is a Linux container daemon devised to be seamlessly integrated with the LXC Linux container library. Enabling access to the LXC library and managing the daemon in charge of managing multiple containers, networking, and storage.
While deploying LXC independently may prove insufficient, the utilization of LXD can offer an extensive range of capabilities for modern container operations.
The essential disparity between Docker and LXD is LXD’s capability to execute multiple processes within a single container, while Docker solely supports a single process. Furthermore, while Docker is compatible with Linux, macOS, and Windows systems, LXD is restricted to Linux exclusively.
Containerd is a runtime engine that manages container duration. Comparable to Docker, it uses a daemon process responsible for managing container lifecycle operations such as creating, stopping, and destroying containers.
Containerd serves as an extensively accepted industry-standard runtime engine that provides users with the ability to access images from container registries and mount storage. However, it doesn’t support image or volume creation. A multitude of resources are available to aid users in accessing and starting up this technology.
Initially created as a Docker module, RunC is an OCI-compliant runtime engineered with priorities on scalability and safety. Released as a standalone tool in 2023, RunC promptly emerged as a prominent, standardized, and interoperable alternative. Containing a collection of low-level Linux features such as namespaces and control groups, RunC has now become an essential tool for container usage.
Is Kubernetes a Worthy Contender to Docker?
While Kubernetes and Docker have some mutual functionalities in terms of container designation and management, they significantly differ in other aspects. Kubernetes serves as a container orchestration platform engineered for the vast-scale deployment and container management, whereas Docker operates as a development tool used for creating, distributing, and carrying out containers.
While some believe that Docker closely resembles conventional virtualization, others would argue that Docker Swarm sets it apart by facilitating large-scale container deployment via Docker. Thus, both technologies possess some shared attributes.
One important distinction that is often ignored between Kubernetes and Docker is that installing and deploying applications and services is not an easy task with Kubernetes, while Docker being user-friendly and uncomplicated to set up and operate.
On the other hand, Kubernetes functions at optimal capacity for delivering large-scale, intricate full-stack applications and services.
Kubernetes and Docker Swarm are both able to attain comparable results, yet Kubernetes provides more advanced features and may entail a more demanding learning curve. If prioritizing ease of deployment, Docker would be the preferable option. However, if seeking enhanced capability and flexibility, Kubernetes would be the more appropriate choice.