The 9 best Docker alternatives for container management

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Containers are very useful for developing, deploying, and managing software in a virtual environment. Docker is useful in the containerization process, but it’s not the only platform available. If you’re looking for alternatives to Docker, look no further. This list presents some feature-rich and efficient Docker alternatives to use in your next project.

An image showing the Podman website

Podman

Podman is an open source container engine. This native Linux engine is ideal for developing, running and managing Linux OCI containers and container images. You can use it to control and use containers from a simple interface.

Despite having a command line interface like Docker, it is daemon-free, which means its functionality is not daemon-dependent. Instead, it uses a runtime process to directly interact with the Linux kernel and the registry.

Related: Virtual Machine Vs Container: What’s The Difference?

Podman does not need root access. Therefore, it restricts potentially dangerous processes for an additional security buffer. Without daemons, the engine has improved flexibility because relying on a single process can cause child processes to fail.

A visual showing the ZeroVM portal

ZeroVM

ZeroVM is an open source virtual environment based on Google’s Chromium Native Client. This isolated application integration platform is highly secure. Since it does not virtualize an entire operating system, booting takes less time and also saves processing power.

You can also deploy it in various environments for application processes. This system does not simulate the entire environment, like an ordinary virtual machine. Instead, it facilitates faster deployment by virtualizing only the space to run the application. In addition, it offers security for unverified code. It also has a unique ability to isolate every process without a kernel or operating system.

An image from the OpenVz website

OpenVz

OpenVZ is a Linux-based containerization technology. While it has similar features and functionality to Docker, its set of tools allows it to perform tasks beyond application deployment.

Related: The Invaluable Benefits of Switching to Linux

It is a hypervisor that hosts virtual servers with features like distributed cloud storage, management tools, and dedicated support. You can independently access and develop applications over the network using OpenVZ.

On a single server, you can create multiple isolated Linux containers. As each container has independent root access, there is no risk of conflicting applications when running multiple applications on the platform at once.

OpenVZ Network File System (NFS) allows you to access network disk files of virtual servers hosted by OpenVZ. If you are a system administrator, you can share virtual servers among multiple physical servers using NFS.

Rancher is orchestration software that helps you administer container clusters with minimal effort. It is particularly useful for developing large-scale applications over a large network or multiple teams.

Depending on administration settings and configurations, it can automate the entire cluster management process. Thus, administrators can easily manage the complex environment made up of several clusters. They can also make the process error-free by removing one user at a time from all cluster groups.

After organizing the cluster, you can offer permissions and privileges to each user so that they can use the designated environment without problems.

An image showing the Containerd site

container

Containerd is a stand-alone container runtime application that emphasizes simplicity and portability. This popular, independent Docker alternative is also a handy orchestration tool that doesn’t handle imaging or creating volumes.

Being a low-level container, it offers excellent performance as an entry-level platform for development. It is equipped with an interface between container engines and operating systems.

The platform offers an abstraction to avoid the complexity that you may have faced when creating various low-level system calls. It also has features like container creation management, snapshot management, push and pull functionality, etc.

A visual showing the VirtualBox website

VirtualBox

VirtualBox offers an open source virtual platform for developers to develop and run applications. You can also use this application to create multiple virtual machines that run on multiple operating systems. This feature makes the platform a perfect option for applications that require a different operating system to run.

It also has the ability to migrate data from one operating system to another using cloud-based storage. In doing so, virtual machines use a different operating system kernel than the host machine to ensure user safety.

This app can also run graphics-based apps, share files and folders, and provide cross-platform support, all without any hardware virtualization. You can also use it to store and back up files to cloud-based storage.

RunC is a standardized, interoperable container runtime that was previously a Docker component. This stand-alone modular tool can dramatically improve the portability of containers. It also helps development processes move seamlessly during hardware upgrades.

You can use this lower level component of the container engine with or without Docker. It is a reliable tool for rapid testing and development in isolated environments.

An image showing the Buildah portal

Built

Buildah is an OCI image generator that you can use as a containerization system. It creates OCI compatible images from a Dockerfile or a Containerfile.

Plus, it gives you granular control over the images and layers it creates. Therefore, you can make multiple changes that turn into one layer at a time. By using this platform, you can enjoy the same benefits as mining an image in Docker. It can also create blank images which you can customize from scratch.

Kubernetes, also known as K8, is a popular open source container automation system. Google developed this platform to manage applications in physical, virtual or cloud environments. Regardless of the hosting platform, it lets you control thousands of containerized applications and workloads.

This ecosystem also functions as an API that can perform tasks such as coordinating, controlling, and automating multiple containers from a single system. Its built-in isolation mechanism allows you to group containers based on root privileges.

With its help, you can also control multiple nodes or clusters and automatically reprogram inactive nodes. It also allows you to improve security, network and load balancing on all nodes. Project collaboration becomes easy with this Docker alternative as you can avoid the complexity of managing multiple container resources.

Choose the right container

While Docker is a widely used platform for containerization and container management, its competitors are not far behind. By browsing the full list of Docker alternatives, you can surely find the platform that matches your needs. While choosing the right container, you might also want to know which web application development framework is right for you.


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