Kubernetes vs Docker is quite a popular phrase in recent times as the former is garnering tons of attention from the developer community. However, it’s often misinterpreted as when these are actually broken down, these don’t necessarily mean what people intend to understand. That confusion is alive since Kubernetes and Docker are deemed per usual competitors as Flask vs. Django.

If we were to speak, the comparison between Kubernetes and Docker would be that of an orange and orange juice–related to each other but not quite similar.

So, what does this mean? Is it redundant to dive into the details of Kubernetes vs Docker?

Docker is actually a containerization platform while Kubernetes is an orchestrator for container platforms such as Docker. Both of these technologies are basically different ones. However, these can co-exist to build, deliver, and scale containerized applications.

What is Docker?

Being an open-source technology, Docker is used to automate the deployment of applications. As a result, apps turn portable along with being self-sufficient to run on the cloud as well as on-premises, as per the need. With the help of Docker, you can handle your infrastructure in similar ways as you would handle your applications.

Using Docker for the deployment, you do not actually have to worry about what is being installed on the host. It helps you easily share the containers and ensure that your team gets the same containers that operate in the same manner.

What are the Best Uses of Docker?

Quick and Consistent Deployment of your Applications:

Docker easily organizes the development lifecycle by enabling developers to work in a standardized environment through local containers that offer your apps and services. When your developers write code, they can use Docker to share it with the team. Your team can use Docket to push through their apps into a test environment as well as execute manual and automated tests.

When your QAs identify bugs in the application, they can resolve these issues in the development environment. In addition to this, they can redeploy the code to the test environment to test and validate it. Once the testing is carried out, getting the application to a customer can be done easily.

Responsive Deployment Along with Scalability:

The container-based portal of Docker enables you to handle highly-portable workloads. You can run the Docker containers on the local laptop of a developer, on the cloud, in mixed environments, and on a physical or virtual machine.

The lightweight and portability of Docker also turn it easy for dynamically managing workloads, breaking down or upscaling applications, and offering services based on the business needs in real-time.

Running Multiple Workloads on the Same Hardware:

As discussed above, Docker operates with a great speed and is lightweight in nature. As a result, it offers a cost-effective and viable substitute to virtual machines for capacitating more computational abilities and achieving business goals.

In addition to this, Docker is an ideal technology for high-density environments for small- and mid-sized deployments that need only fewer resources.

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What is Kubernetes?

Similar to Docker, Kubernetes is an open-source platform used to handle containerized services and workloads. It facilitates declarative configuration as well as automation. Besides that, Kubernetes is an extensible and portable platform, which has a huge and quickly growing ecosystem.

If you happen to be a CTO or a technical head of a product team, you might remember the traditional deployment era, wherein companies had to run their apps on physical servers. However, given a large wastage of resources, companies found it expensive to upkeep their physical servers.

The virtualized deployment era came into existence as a solution to the traditional deployment era. The more refined deployment model for running multiple virtual machines using a single CPU. And today, we have container-based deployment. It can be said that containers are similar to virtual machines.

What are the Best Uses of Kubernetes?

Efficient Management through Modularity:

Containers enable applications to be dissected into smaller segments through clear separation modules. There is an abstraction layer that governs how exactly an individual container image enables you to basically decide how to develop the distributed application. The modular approach of Kubernetes allows for quicker development of modules by breaking them into smaller modules.

Updating Software and Deployment at Scale:

Kubernetes simplifies numerous specific deployment operations, which are highly valuable to modern app developers. There are multiple possibilities that Kubernetes features, which include autoscalers, depending on the use of specified resources, rolling updates and canary deployments.

Security and Authentication:

Kubernetes being an orchestration system turns it easy for managing security and authentication at the security. In addition to this, it applies consistent policies all across the platform.

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How to Differentiate Between Kubernetes and Docker?

Though it is pretty common to differentiate between Kubernetes and Docker, below are some base points to consider:

  • A key difference between Kubernetes and Docker is that the former operates across a cluster while Docker runs using a single node.
  • Kubernetes requires a container runtime for orchestration, while Docker can operate even without Kubernetes.
  • Kubernetes is basically used by developers for orchestration and container management. While Docker has been used for development, deployment, and execution at a basic level. Docker offers Kubernetes a ground to stand on.

As seen in this section, these technologies are not quite diagonal to each other. They exist in groups together. Let’s see how you can work around with these technologies:

Is it Okay to Use Docker without Kubernetes?

As per the common development standards, Docker is often used without Kubernetes. Though Kubernetes is known to bring many benefits on the table, it is highly complex and it offers numerous scenarios, wherein the overhead around Kubernetes is unwanted and unnecessary.

Is it Okay to Use Kubernetes without Docker?

Since Kubernetes is a container-based orchestrator, it requires a container runtime for orchestrating. Kubernetes is highly used with Docker. However, it can also operate with any kind of runtime environment. Hence, to answer the question of whether Kubernetes can do without Docker, it can work without Docker.

Kubernetes vs Docker: Which One to Select for your Product Application?

Given my detailed view on Kubernetes vs Docker in the aforementioned section, it should be probably clear that these technologies should not be seen as Kubernetes vs Docker. These are no rivals despite having some overlapping functionalities. In addition to this, it is only fair to say that the core technologies they have are complementary in nature.

Since we have blurred the line distinguishing Kubernetes vs Docker, a relevant question might bug your mind–What should you choose out of these two?

Should your Choose Kubernetes?

Since Kubernetes is deemed as a container orchestrator, it requires a container runtime for orchestrating. The technology is often used alongside Docker. However, it can also be used with any kind of container runtime.

Kubernetes does not require functionality to create or handle container images. Kubernetes does not have to run containers. The technology has to work using an external container source as well as runtime. However, Kubernetes is capable of leveraging containers through multiple sources. In addition to this, it is compatible with other runtimes such as Docker as well.

Kubernetes offers a flexible, rich, and powerful framework to define applications as well as orchestrate containers. The technology is well-designed for automated scaling, operating on a multi-platform environment, and handling high availability. Kubernetes also features a large community of developers and users through its support tools and add-ons.

Should your Choose Docker?

When you are working in the development environment, it is okay to use Docker without using Kubernetes as contain orchestrator. In the production environment, the cost arising due to complexity often outweighs the use of a container orchestrator. In addition to this, there are numerous public clouds that feature orchestration capabilities, thereby turning it simple.

Kubernetes vs Docker: Breaking the Barriers

Let’s skip the analysis and identify the best solution.

The most viable solution is to use a combination of Kubernetes and Docker. Even when Kubernetes is designed to utilize other runtime and container sources, it can seamlessly work with Docker. In addition to this, a large section of the Kubernetes has been written by keeping Docker in mind, which is enough reason for the two technologies to co-exist.

One of the fundamental use cases of using Kubernetes+Docker is when Kubernetes uses Docker-based tools like Kompose. Kompose can be used to convert the Docker settings and commands for their use by Kubernetes. Hence, the right way to use is not Kubernetes vs Docker, it is Kubernetes and Docker.

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