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Difference Between Kubernetes and Docker

Difference Between Kubernetes and Docker

We will not discuss the basics of Kubernetes and Docker Swarm here, as they are discussed already in previous blogs. If you want to know “What is Docker” and “What is Kubernetes”, you can read already published blogs on our website. First, check the difference between Kubernetes and Docker briefly in a table then we will discuss each comparison parameter in detail one by one throughout the DevOps blog.

Difference Between Kubernetes and Docker infographic

Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm – Comparison at a Glance

This table is a quick reference to the difference between Docker and Kubernetes. 

Comparison Parameters Kubernetes Docker Swarm
Installation and Cluster configurations Installation is little tough but once completed cluster design is stronger Installation is quite simpler but the cluster is not as strong as Kubernetes.
Graphical User Interface Available No GUI
Scalability Scalable but to a limited speed Highly scalable and five times faster than Kubernetes.
Auto-scaling Available Not available
Load Balancing It can be done manually. Load balancing is automated in the case of Docker.
Updates and Rollbacks It provides both features rolling updates and rollbacks It provides rolling updates but does not support rollbacks.
Data Volumes Share data within containers only. It can share data stored on other devices too.
Monitoring and Logging There are in-built tools for monitoring and logging. We need to use third-party tools like ELK for monitoring and Logging.

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Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm features

Please don’t confuse between two words Docker Swarm and Docker here. Docker is just a containerization tool while Docker Swarm is a container orchestration tool and Kubernetes is also a container orchestration tool, so the comparison between two makes sense in this JanBask Training blog. Here is a list of different performance and usability comparison parameters that will be discussed in the rest of the blog in detail –

  • Installation and Cluster configurations
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Scalability
  • Auto-scaling
  • Load Balancing
  • Updates and Rollbacks
  • Data Volumes
  • Monitoring and Logging

Let us dive deep and discuss each of the parameters in detail one by one. With this discussion Docker Swarm vs Kubernetes, you would be able to decide quickly who is the winner and why?

All the best and happy learning!

A). Installation and Cluster configurations

Setting up a cluster in Docker Swarm is a matter of minutes that can be completed within two commands only. One command should be executed at the end of the Manager and the second command will be executed at the end of a worker. Trust me, it takes that much effort only. After setting up the cluster, you can quickly start working on the deployment part.

At the same time, setting up a cluster in Kubernetes is not that much simple as it was done in the Docker Swarm. You need to run several commands to set up a cluster in the front, first of all, define the environment then define the Pod network so that containers could interact together then put it on the dashboard and at the end your cluster will be hosted successfully.

Read: Docker Certification| Advantages, How to Prepare & Tips to Ace the Exam 2023

B). Graphical User Interface

A GUI is basically a dashboard where all operations can be performed effortlessly. It helps to set up, configure and hosting a cluster successfully without putting effort. There is no technical proficiency required. With the basic understanding and a set of instructions, you can work continuously even if you belong to any other background.

In the case of Docker Swarm, there is no GUI or dashboard as of now. This is a sad update but you have to wait for a little more to avail of this facility.

C). Scalability

Scaling up a number of containers is the eventual need for any organization either they are working on a small scale or they are working on a larger scale. Here, both Kubernetes and Docker Swarm are proven candidates that help in scaling containers faster. As we discussed already, Kubernetes are slightly better at maintaining the strength of the cluster as compared to the Docker Swarm.

On the other hand, Docker swarm is five times faster when compared to the Kubernetes. So, there is a tough battle between the two in terms of scalability and neither wins. The choice is completely up to you either you prefer strength or performance more. I prefer stability than agility in scaling and Kubernetes is my winner here.

D). Auto-Scaling

In this case, Kubernetes definitely wins the race because of enough capability of managing and analyzing the server loads based on project requirements. The best part is that there is no need to put any manual efforts and it is a big help for developers. On the other hand, Docker Swarm is not a confident candidate here and does not provide good support for auto-scaling.

E). Load Balancing

Kubernetes is not a recommended choice here in case of load balancing. Most of the time, you have to configure the load balancing setting manually. A number of containers are connected together and they will act as the single pod only. Further, you have the option to define each of the services as the group of pods. Now how can you allow these pods to communicate together so that they could be made quickly discoverable? Here you can see that the service is suitable for the discovery bot for the IP address, so this is a challenging situation.

If we are talking about the Docker Swarm then load balancing is much simpler than your expectations. Here, you don’t have to deal with pods at all and all the containers are made discoverable at a single point only with the complete network IP address. All of these things happen automatically when nodes are well connected and free to communicate together.

F). Updates and Rollbacks

Again, Kubernetes is the winner in the case of rolling updates and rollbacks. Docker Swarm also supports the concept of rolling updates in case of containers. Kubernetes perform the concept of rolling updates to pods only as a whole while Swarm performs the updates on containers straight away only. If you are not sure what is rolling update share then read this. Rolling updates is the simple process of deploying gradually and progressively to the existing apps hosted in containers.

On the other hand, Docker Swarm performs rollbacks automatically. If anything goes wrong in deploying updates, both Kubernetes and Docker Swarm provides a rollback scheme where you can undo the changes as per requirements. If you are interested in auto rollbacks then only Kubernetes can help you in this case. You don’t have to worry about failures too because it closely monitors the updates and deployments from time to time.

G). Data Volumes

With the help of Kubernetes, you are allowed to share the storage volumes across multiple containers within pods. At the same time, Docker Swarm allows you to share storage volumes with other containers too. Again, Kubernetes wins the race here where you can mount the storage space locally either on public or private clouds like AWS, NFS, and GCP or more.

Read: Ultimate and Easy Ways About Jenkins Code Analysis To make you Successful

H). Monitoring and Logging

In the case of Kubernetes, there are plenty of built-in tools to perform monitoring and logging. Logging helps you to analyze the log and understand the problem deeply that can happen in the case of failure. At the same time, monitoring is the process that helps to constantly measure the health status of nodes and services containerized by them. So, the complete process is managed internally and easy to use as well. However, Docker Swarm completes the process with the help of third-party tools like ELK or more.

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Similarities Between Kubernetes and Docker

In spite of differences, Docker and Kubernetes DevOps tools have some significant differences too. Let us see what interesting ideas both tools share:

  1. They are based on Microservices architecture.
  2. They are open-source tools and easy to customize as per company requirements.
  3. They both are written in Go programming language having lightweight binaries.
  4. They have easy to read YAML files to specify application stacks and their deployments.

In practice, you can quickly start your project with Docker containers and gradually understand the benefits of Kubernetes.

How are Kubernetes and Docker Better Together?

Docker containers are written with a promise to write once and run everywhere while Kubernetes has the potential to orchestrate all Docker containers with the help of a single control panel. Further, it helps with load balancing, networking, security maintenance, and scaling of Kubernetes nodes that are responsible to run Docker containers. Kubernetes has a namespace mechanism that helps in grouping containers.  

In brief, Kubernetes and Docker can be used to:

  • Establish a more powerful infrastructure and make your app widely available. It is possible to access the app even if you go offline.
  • Make an app highly scalable and it can manage more loads and easy to scale out when needed. With Docker and Kubernetes, it is easy to work with containers and nodes and you can increase their count as per the requirements.

Both tools are based on the microservices architecture that helps developers to collaborate without hampering the entire development environment for an application. When both these tools are combined together, they help in faster deployments, scalable orchestration of cloud-based apps.

Can you use Docker without Kubernetes?

Docker can be easily used without Kubernetes. It is true that Kubernetes offers multiple benefits but its architecture is highly complex and sometimes it becomes difficult to play with nodes in Kubernetes. In the development environment, it is common to use the Docker container systems without Kubernetes. Also, Docker can be afforded well without adding extra complexity. 

Can you use Kubernetes without Docker?

Kubernetes DevOps tool is mainly needed to orchestrate containers. It is widely used with the Docker DevOps tool and can be used with any other container tool too. For more details, you can go through Kubernetes documentation and learn all about the tool. You can learn how this tool can be used with any other tool to deliver endless benefits.

Read: Difference Between Eclipse and IntelliJ IDE

Industrywide Adoption of Docker and Kubernetes

Till the time, we have discussed the theoretical concepts of the tool. Let us see how much they are, how they can help some businesses to grow, what are the real-time resources needed to start with Docker and Kubernetes.

1). Docker in Production

When it comes to adoption, it is difficult to decide among the two. If you need a microservices-based architecture tool then you should go for the Docker container for each of the microservices. It is quite a mature tool and suggests using microservices instead of code design.

2). Kubernetes in Production

Most of the organizations just go behind some technology without realizing its benefits. This blind decision can harm their businesses in the long run. You can set up your person Kubernetes Cluster and use it to host an easy and scalable website. Also, Kubernetes is growing quickly with amazing network plugins and benefits.

A Case Study

You must be wondering how Companies decide on the tool without understanding it fully. Here is a simple case study to tell you why you should adopt Kubernetes. Cloud computing is growing eventually in the IT marketplace and a number of cloud computing platforms like AWS, Azure, and more. 

Cloud technology has dramatically reduced the cost of software deployment over the cloud. The best part is that Kubernetes is an open-source tool and it can be customized as per project needs. 

Also, you don’t have to worry about amazing clusters and nodes while working with Kubernetes. You can scale apps quickly across the planet without hurting its existing features. These amazing benefits make the tool suitable for industries when compared to Docker.


So, we have discussed the all relevant comparison parameters here in this blog for What is Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm? You should keep each of the aspects in mind before you reach the final decision. After going through the difference between Docker and Kubernetes, I believe that Kubernetes is surely a winning candidate when compared to another similar tool Docker Swarm. Still, the choice completely depends on you and the project requirements which one you want to use and why. But don’t forget to go through this blog “Docker vs Kubernetes” before you make the decision.

To know more about Docker and Kubernetes and why they are so popular in the IT marketplace, join the DevOps certification program at JanBask Training and start your learning immediately.

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