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The Case For Docker Against Cloud Virtualization

Posted by QuoteColo on May 23, 2014 - Updated on March 03, 2016

In a previous article, we touched on the idea of why virtualization is so vital to Cloud hosting. We touched on how virtualization allows Cloud consumers to make the most of the virtual graphical interface without having to acquire the knowledge of a system admin to fully operate their Windows or Linux Cloud solution. For the majority of the market, virtualization is a fine service offering easy use, rapid configuration and a lack of use in local resources.

Virtualization is a great service however, for those in the know, virtualization solutions like KVM, OpenVZ, VMWare and Xen can complicate a Cloud deployed infrastructure and severely slow the process associated with carrying out vital computing tasks.

For those in the know, virtualization can serve as a point of largess in the system instead of serving as a critical component to function. This is where Linux Docker Containers come into play.

What is Docker?

Taken from the Docker source code:

“Docker is an open-source engine that automates the deployment of any application as a lightweight, portable, self-sufficient container that will run virtually anywhere.”


“Docker containers can encapsulate any payload, and will run consistently on and between virtually any server. The same container that a developer builds and tests on a laptop will run at scale, in production, on VMs, bare-metal servers, OpenStack clusters, public instances, or combinations of the above.”

In common terms, Docker is a Linux container system which bypasses the server virtualization level in favor of lightweight containers designed to take on high load at high operational speed.

What is Docker Used For?

The main use for Docker is deploying containers with limited lag to handle and process high load computing tasks without interfering with any other running container in the overall virtual environment. This is the main difference between Docker containers and a virtualization solution: containers allow for contained process to run without impacting the performance of other containers operating on the system while virtualized environments can bleed over into the system slowing serer performance when under high load. It should go without saying but Docker is designed to contain tasks into one location, not bleed them out.

As noted from the Docker source code:

“Common use cases for Docker include, automating the packaging and deployment of applications, creation of lightweight, private PAAS environments, automated testing and continuous integration/deployment and deploying and scaling web apps, databases and backend services.”

Who Provides Docker?

While some major Cloud hosting providers are currently working to bring Docker to market, smaller companies like Tutum ( a startup based in lower Manhattan) provides consumers with a fully Docker based system designed to destroy the use of virtualization solutions and speed up heavy compute process.

With the technology just coming to light within the Cloud hosting community and with not a lot of providers currently supplying it, the single best aspect of Docker is its use of open source standards. Due to the foundation of the Cloud technology, Docker allows for anyone with coding cred to switch on a container for a dirt cheap monthly cost and build on the source code to make a stronger, more agile and better Cloud hosting product.

The case for Docker against Cloud virtualization is simple: virtualization, in many instances can muck up compute tasks by getting in the way of communication and efficiency. The case for Docker is the elimination of the issues just mentioned.

So, should you, as a Cloud consumer, board the Docker container train? The choice is yours but if you are tired of lag time under high load and communication errors caused by KVM or OpenVZ, Docker might be for you.


What Do You Think?