Docker vs. Virtual Machines: Which is Better?

Are you excited about the future of containerization and virtualization? If you are, then you must have heard about Docker and Virtual Machines. These two popular technologies are dominating the IT industry and revolutionizing the way developers and system administrators create, deploy, and manage applications.

In this article, we will explore and compare Docker and Virtual Machines to help you make an informed decision on which is better.

The Basics

First, let's define the terms. Docker is an open-source platform that allows developers to create, deploy, and run applications using containers. Containers are lightweight, portable, and efficient units that package all the necessary components, such as code, dependencies, libraries, and configurations.

On the other hand, Virtual Machines, or VMs, are software emulations of computer systems, hardware, and operating systems. VMs run as an isolated guest OS on top of a host OS or hypervisor, which provides virtualized access to hardware resources such as CPU, memory, storage, and networking.


Now, let's dive into the comparison between Docker and Virtual Machines.

Resource Utilization

One of the significant advantages of Docker over Virtual Machines is resource utilization. Containers use shared resources with the host operating system, allowing them to start up and shut down quickly and use fewer resources, such as disk space, memory, and CPU cycles. Docker leverages the host OS to manage container processes, which reduces the overhead of running multiple instances of an application.

On the other hand, Virtual Machines need a hypervisor, which acts as a middle layer between the physical hardware and the guest OS. Hypervisors require more overhead resources to manage VMs and need to virtualize all the hardware resources. This process results in more extended startup times, slower performance, and higher disk space requirements.


Isolation is another critical factor when comparing Docker vs. Virtual Machines. Docker uses Linux kernel namespaces, which provide isolation of resources such as PIDs, network, file system, users, and inter-process communication (IPC). Containers offer a high degree of isolation and security compared to traditional approaches.

Virtual Machines use hardware virtualization, which gives each VM its own complete instance of an operating system, with all system libraries, binaries, and other resources along with the application. This approach provides a higher degree of isolation and security than containers, but at the cost of higher system overheads.


Docker offers high portability as containers can run anywhere with the same environment, regardless of the host operating system. Docker containers can be run on a developer's laptop, in a data center, or public cloud, making them an ideal deployment platform for microservices architectures.

Virtual Machines are also portable, but they require an underlying hypervisor to be installed, which limits their portability across different hardware or cloud platforms.


Docker provides flexibility by allowing users to choose the components and create custom images. Containers can be created and managed using Docker Compose or other container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, which allows for seamless scaling and deployment of containerized applications.

Virtual Machines offer the flexibility to run multiple operating systems and applications, but their management is more complex than Docker. VMs typically take longer to create and deploy than containers, which limits their utility for rapid development and testing.


In conclusion, both Docker and Virtual Machines have their advantages and disadvantages. Docker is more lightweight, portable, and flexible, making it an ideal platform for microservices and cloud-native applications. Virtual Machines offer more extensive hardware and operating system isolation, making them a better choice for legacy applications and complex workloads.

The choice between Docker and Virtual Machines depends on your use case, goals, and requirements. If you need a lightweight deployment platform, opt for Docker. If you need complete isolation and security, choose Virtual Machines.

Ultimately, both technologies are here to stay, and the decision to use one over the other should be determined by the demands of the application and the goals of the organization.

We hope this article has helped you understand the differences and similarities between Docker and Virtual Machines. As always, stay curious, and keep learning!

Editor Recommended Sites

AI and Tech News
Best Online AI Courses
Classic Writing Analysis
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Blockchain Remote Job Board - Block Chain Remote Jobs & Remote Crypto Jobs: The latest remote smart contract job postings
ML Education: Machine learning education tutorials. Free online courses for machine learning, large language model courses
Learn Redshift: Learn the redshift datawarehouse by AWS, course by an Ex-Google engineer
AI Books - Machine Learning Books & Generative AI Books: The latest machine learning techniques, tips and tricks. Learn machine learning & Learn generative AI
Manage Cloud Secrets: Cloud secrets for AWS and GCP. Best practice and management