Docker Compose vs Kubernetes

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

Docker Compose

21.3K
16.1K
+ 1
501
Kubernetes

58.9K
51K
+ 1
677
Add tool

Docker Compose vs Kubernetes: What are the differences?

Introduction

Both Docker Compose and Kubernetes are popular tools used for container orchestration and management. While they serve the same purpose, they have some key differences in terms of their architecture, scalability, setup, and features.

  1. Architecture: Docker Compose is a tool that allows you to define and run multi-container Docker applications. It uses a single machine to manage and distribute containers. On the other hand, Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across multiple machines or nodes. It is a distributed system, designed to handle large-scale containerized applications.

  2. Scalability: Docker Compose is suitable for small-scale applications where scalability is not a major concern. It is designed for single host deployments and does not have built-in features for scaling across multiple machines. On the contrary, Kubernetes is highly scalable and can manage large-scale deployments efficiently. It can automatically scale applications based on resource utilization and can distribute the workload across multiple nodes for better performance.

  3. Setup Complexity: Docker Compose has a relatively simple setup process. It requires Docker to be installed on the host machine, and then the application can be defined using a YAML file and started using a single command. On the other hand, Kubernetes has a more complex setup process as it involves setting up a cluster of nodes, configuring networking, and defining various resources like pods, services, and deployments using Kubernetes manifests. It requires more expertise and effort to set up a Kubernetes cluster compared to Docker Compose.

  4. Built-in Features: Docker Compose provides a limited set of features for container orchestration, such as defining networks, volumes, and dependencies between containers. It focuses on running multiple containers as a single application stack. Kubernetes, on the other hand, offers a wide range of built-in features for container orchestration, including load balancing, service discovery, automatic scaling, and rolling updates. It provides more advanced capabilities for managing containerized applications in production environments.

  5. Community Support: Docker Compose has a large and active community with a vast number of pre-built Docker images and stacks available for various applications. It is widely adopted and has extensive documentation and community support. Kubernetes also has a strong community support with a vast ecosystem of tools and resources. It is backed by major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Red Hat, which contributes to its rapid development and adoption.

  6. Use Cases: Docker Compose is suitable for developers or small teams working on local development environments or small-scale applications. It provides an easy way to define and manage multi-container applications for development and testing purposes. Kubernetes, on the other hand, is designed for large-scale deployments in production environments where scalability, high availability, and operational efficiency are crucial. It is widely used in cloud-native application development and microservices architectures.

In summary, Docker Compose is a simple tool for running multiple containers as a single application stack on a single machine, while Kubernetes is a powerful container orchestration platform designed for managing large-scale deployments across multiple machines or nodes.

Advice on Docker Compose and Kubernetes

Hello, we have a bunch of local hosts (Linux and Windows) where Docker containers are running with bamboo agents on them. Currently, each container is installed as a system service. Each host is set up manually. I want to improve the system by adding some sort of orchestration software that should install, update and check for consistency in my docker containers. I don't need any clouds, all hosts are local. I'd prefer simple solutions. What orchestration system should I choose?

See more
Replies (1)
Mortie Torabi
Recommends
on
Docker SwarmDocker Swarm

If you just want the basic orchestration between a set of defined hosts, go with Docker Swarm. If you want more advanced orchestration + flexibility in terms of resource management and load balancing go with Kubernetes. In both cases, you can make it even more complex while making the whole architecture more understandable and replicable by using Terraform.

See more
Decisions about Docker Compose and Kubernetes
Michael Roberts

We develop rapidly with docker-compose orchestrated services, however, for production - we utilise the very best ideas that Kubernetes has to offer: SCALE! We can scale when needed, setting a maximum and minimum level of nodes for each application layer - scaling only when the load balancer needs it. This allowed us to reduce our devops costs by 40% whilst also maintaining an SLA of 99.87%.

See more
Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 30 upvotes · 9.3M views

Our whole DevOps stack consists of the following tools:

  • GitHub (incl. GitHub Pages/Markdown for Documentation, GettingStarted and HowTo's) for collaborative review and code management tool
  • Respectively Git as revision control system
  • SourceTree as Git GUI
  • Visual Studio Code as IDE
  • CircleCI for continuous integration (automatize development process)
  • Prettier / TSLint / ESLint as code linter
  • SonarQube as quality gate
  • Docker as container management (incl. Docker Compose for multi-container application management)
  • VirtualBox for operating system simulation tests
  • Kubernetes as cluster management for docker containers
  • Heroku for deploying in test environments
  • nginx as web server (preferably used as facade server in production environment)
  • SSLMate (using OpenSSL) for certificate management
  • Amazon EC2 (incl. Amazon S3) for deploying in stage (production-like) and production environments
  • PostgreSQL as preferred database system
  • Redis as preferred in-memory database/store (great for caching)

The main reason we have chosen Kubernetes over Docker Swarm is related to the following artifacts:

  • Key features: Easy and flexible installation, Clear dashboard, Great scaling operations, Monitoring is an integral part, Great load balancing concepts, Monitors the condition and ensures compensation in the event of failure.
  • Applications: An application can be deployed using a combination of pods, deployments, and services (or micro-services).
  • Functionality: Kubernetes as a complex installation and setup process, but it not as limited as Docker Swarm.
  • Monitoring: It supports multiple versions of logging and monitoring when the services are deployed within the cluster (Elasticsearch/Kibana (ELK), Heapster/Grafana, Sysdig cloud integration).
  • Scalability: All-in-one framework for distributed systems.
  • Other Benefits: Kubernetes is backed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), huge community among container orchestration tools, it is an open source and modular tool that works with any OS.
See more
Get Advice from developers at your company using StackShare Enterprise. Sign up for StackShare Enterprise.
Learn More
Pros of Docker Compose
Pros of Kubernetes
  • 123
    Multi-container descriptor
  • 110
    Fast development environment setup
  • 79
    Easy linking of containers
  • 68
    Simple yaml configuration
  • 60
    Easy setup
  • 16
    Yml or yaml format
  • 12
    Use Standard Docker API
  • 8
    Open source
  • 5
    Go from template to application in minutes
  • 5
    Can choose Discovery Backend
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Easy configuration
  • 4
    Kubernetes integration
  • 3
    Quick and easy
  • 164
    Leading docker container management solution
  • 128
    Simple and powerful
  • 106
    Open source
  • 76
    Backed by google
  • 58
    The right abstractions
  • 25
    Scale services
  • 20
    Replication controller
  • 11
    Permission managment
  • 9
    Supports autoscaling
  • 8
    Cheap
  • 8
    Simple
  • 6
    Self-healing
  • 5
    No cloud platform lock-in
  • 5
    Promotes modern/good infrascture practice
  • 5
    Open, powerful, stable
  • 5
    Reliable
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Quick cloud setup
  • 3
    Cloud Agnostic
  • 3
    Captain of Container Ship
  • 3
    A self healing environment with rich metadata
  • 3
    Runs on azure
  • 3
    Backed by Red Hat
  • 3
    Custom and extensibility
  • 2
    Sfg
  • 2
    Gke
  • 2
    Everything of CaaS
  • 2
    Golang
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Expandable

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Docker Compose
Cons of Kubernetes
  • 9
    Tied to single machine
  • 5
    Still very volatile, changing syntax often
  • 16
    Steep learning curve
  • 15
    Poor workflow for development
  • 8
    Orchestrates only infrastructure
  • 4
    High resource requirements for on-prem clusters
  • 2
    Too heavy for simple systems
  • 1
    Additional vendor lock-in (Docker)
  • 1
    More moving parts to secure
  • 1
    Additional Technology Overhead

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Docker Compose?

With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use Docker Compose?
What companies use Kubernetes?
See which teams inside your own company are using Docker Compose or Kubernetes.
Sign up for StackShare EnterpriseLearn More

Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

What tools integrate with Docker Compose?
What tools integrate with Kubernetes?

Sign up to get full access to all the tool integrationsMake informed product decisions

Blog Posts

Kubernetesetcd+2
2
1169
Dec 8 2020 at 5:50PM

DigitalOcean

GitHubMySQLPostgreSQL+11
2
2371
PythonDockerKubernetes+7
3
1109
May 21 2020 at 12:02AM

Rancher Labs

KubernetesAmazon EC2Grafana+12
5
1500
Apr 16 2020 at 5:34AM

Rancher Labs

KubernetesRancher+2
2
946
What are some alternatives to Docker Compose and Kubernetes?
Docker
The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere
Docker Swarm
Swarm serves the standard Docker API, so any tool which already communicates with a Docker daemon can use Swarm to transparently scale to multiple hosts: Dokku, Compose, Krane, Deis, DockerUI, Shipyard, Drone, Jenkins... and, of course, the Docker client itself.
Helm
Helm is the best way to find, share, and use software built for Kubernetes.
Ansible
Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.
Portainer
It is a universal container management tool. It works with Kubernetes, Docker, Docker Swarm and Azure ACI. It allows you to manage containers without needing to know platform-specific code.
See all alternatives