Chamco Digital: “Migrating Your Datacenter to the Cloud?”

Kubernetes vs. Docker: What is the Best Solution

Chamco Digital: "Migrating your Datacenter to the Cloud?"
Chamco Digital

Is your organization planning to migrate data and applications to the cloud? Well, you’re not alone, says N. Jude Nwosu in Los Angeles, CTO of Chamco Digital, the dynamic US-based cloud services firm teaming up with an as-yet-unnamed technology giant to expand cloud technology offerings.

According to O’Reilly’s 2021 study of cloud adoption, approximately 48% of companies surveyed plan to migrate at least 50% of their applications to the cloud by the end of 2022.
These figures are no surprise. In times where market uncertainty is the norm, cloud computing offers scalability and efficiency, which generally translates into better adaptability to changing conditions.

These benefits are largely made possible by containers, or rather, containerized applications.

Having said that, it’s clear that the way forward is to containerize your applications and then migrate them, be it to the private cloud, public cloud, or to a hybrid cloud.

This begs the question that has inspired this article; “which is the best solution for managing your containers: Kubernetes or Docker?”

Docker Ecosystem

While Docker did not invent containers, it’s fair to say that it was the company that popularized them in the IT industry. In just two years since its launch in 2013, Docker already had strategic partnerships with giants such as Red Hat and OpenShift, Microsoft, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud.

Today Docker has a rich ecosystem of tools that includes Docker Engine, Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, and Docker Volumes. It’s also worth mentioning Docker Desktop, an application focused on local development that makes life easier for software engineers, regardless of whether they use Windows, Linux, or macOS. Possibly that’s the main selling point of Docker currently, its ease of use and implementation.

The above is more important than it seems. Until recently, Docker was synonymous with containers. However, that is no longer the case. The widespread use of containers made a suitable container orchestration tool necessary. It was the beginning of the Kubernetes era.

You can think of Docker Swarm as the answer to Kubernetes, Nomad, Apache Mesos, and other container orchestrator platforms. The problem however is that Docker’s simplicity is also its greatest weakness. Docker Swarm turned out to be only a viable solution for small clusters.

Docker Pros

  • Both on-premise and cloud deployments are extremely simple
  • It has a rich ecosystem of tools and services that facilitate the development of cloud-native applications.
  • Supports CI/CD pipelines natively which speeds up development significantly

Docker Cons

  • Relatively limited scalability
  • Faces competition from other container runtimes such as containerd, CRI-O, and Mirantis Container Runtime

Docker Ideal Use Cases

  • Running simple applications that do not require high scalability
  • Local development environments
  • CI/CD pipelines
  • Learning/training in container technology

After reading the above, you may be wondering if Kubernetes is a better solution. Short answer: not necessarily.

Kubernetes container orchestration system

In retrospect, the Kubernetes story resembles that of Docker in several ways.

After its launch in 2015, Google, the company behind the original K8s code, partnered with the Linux Foundation to form the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and encourage the adoption of Kubernetes. This move proved to be a success, to the point that today Kubernetes is the de-facto container orchestration tool in the industry.

It’s necessary to stop at this point to emphasize that Kubernetes is not a container runtime. Kubernetes is responsible for taking containers (whether based on Docker Engine or not) to the next level by allowing great scalability, flexibility, and high availability to applications and services. In fact, Kubernetes requires a container runtime to work, so it would be fair to say that Docker and K8s complement each other very well. Put another way, far from being competitors, you can think of Kubernetes as a great tool for managing Docker containers at scale.

That said, Kubernetes was built to be enterprise-ready from the start. That makes it an excellent solution for large-scale deployments. Another key aspect of Kubernetes’ design is its flexibility. Kubernetes can be customized to fit almost any use case. Moreover, K8s support hundreds of tools and services that extend its functionality.

However, as you might expect, this flexibility comes at a price.

Kubernetes is usually more complex to configure and implement than Docker. While projects like K3d, Minikube, and even Docker Desktop have made it easy to deploy Kubernetes locally, learning K8s’s inner workings generally takes more effort.

Kubernetes Pros

  • Great scalability
  • Over 200 Certified Service Providers are available
  • Has a rich ecosystem of tools that increase its core features
  • Unsurpassed reliability

Kubernetes Cons

  • Harder to implement than Docker (unless you opt for a managed K8s service)
  • It can be an overkill in many cases

Kubernetes Ideal Use Cases

  • Running complex applications/services that require high scalability and high availability
  • Customized solutions that require cloud-native network functions
  • Use cases that require resource-hungry tasks (Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence)

Final Thoughts

Kubernetes or Docker? What is the best solution? There is no simple answer to that question. This is because each use case is unique and requires an in-depth study to design a strategy that guarantees a successful migration to the cloud.

Fortunately, Chamco Digital offers end-to-end advice to companies that want to take the big step into the cloud-native future. Contact us today to share ideas on how we can help your organization.