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Docker vs Helm: What are the differences?

## Introduction

Key differences between Docker and Helm are outlined below:

1. **Containerization vs. Package Manager**: Docker is a containerization platform that allows you to create, deploy, and run applications in containers, while Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes that simplifies the deployment and management of applications within Kubernetes clusters.

2. **Single Application vs. Multiple Applications**: Docker focuses on containerizing single applications, providing isolation and portability, whereas Helm is designed to manage multiple applications within a Kubernetes cluster, enabling easy installation, upgrading, and deletion of complex sets of microservices.

3. **Configuration Management**: Docker uses Dockerfiles to define the build process and configurations for individual containers, allowing for customization at the container level. In contrast, Helm uses charts to define application models and customizable templates, providing a higher level of abstraction for managing configurations across multiple deployments.

4. **Dependency Management**: Docker does not natively support dependency management between containers, requiring users to handle dependencies manually or using external tools. On the other hand, Helm offers dependency management through chart dependencies, simplifying the installation and management of complex applications with interdependent components.

5. **Versioning and Rollbacks**: Docker enables versioning at the container image level, allowing you to pull specific versions of images for deployment. Helm, on the other hand, offers versioning at the chart level, making it easier to manage and rollback changes to application configurations and dependencies.

6. **Community and Ecosystem**: Docker has a larger community and ecosystem focused on containerization technologies, providing a wide range of tools, integrations, and support for container-based workflows. Helm, being more focused on Kubernetes application management, has a smaller but dedicated community that offers a variety of charts, plugins, and resources specifically tailored for Kubernetes deployments.

## Summary

In Summary, Docker and Helm differ in their approach to containerization, package management, configuration, dependency handling, versioning, and community ecosystems within the Kubernetes landscape.
Decisions about Docker and Helm
Florian Sager
IT DevOp at Agitos GmbH · | 3 upvotes · 428.6K views
Chose
LXDLXD
over
DockerDocker

lxd/lxc and Docker aren't congruent so this comparison needs a more detailed look; but in short I can say: the lxd-integrated administration of storage including zfs with its snapshot capabilities as well as the system container (multi-process) approach of lxc vs. the limited single-process container approach of Docker is the main reason I chose lxd over Docker.

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Pros of Docker
Pros of Helm
  • 823
    Rapid integration and build up
  • 691
    Isolation
  • 521
    Open source
  • 505
    Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty
  • 460
    Lightweight
  • 218
    Standardization
  • 185
    Scalable
  • 106
    Upgrading / down­grad­ing / ap­pli­ca­tion versions
  • 88
    Security
  • 85
    Private paas environments
  • 34
    Portability
  • 26
    Limit resource usage
  • 17
    Game changer
  • 16
    I love the way docker has changed virtualization
  • 14
    Fast
  • 12
    Concurrency
  • 8
    Docker's Compose tools
  • 6
    Easy setup
  • 6
    Fast and Portable
  • 5
    Because its fun
  • 4
    Makes shipping to production very simple
  • 3
    Highly useful
  • 3
    It's dope
  • 2
    Very easy to setup integrate and build
  • 2
    HIgh Throughput
  • 2
    Package the environment with the application
  • 2
    Does a nice job hogging memory
  • 2
    Open source and highly configurable
  • 2
    Simplicity, isolation, resource effective
  • 2
    MacOS support FAKE
  • 2
    Its cool
  • 2
    Docker hub for the FTW
  • 2
    Super
  • 0
    Asdfd
  • 8
    Infrastructure as code
  • 6
    Open source
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 1
    Support
  • 1
    Testa­bil­i­ty and re­pro­ducibil­i­ty

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Cons of Docker
Cons of Helm
  • 8
    New versions == broken features
  • 6
    Unreliable networking
  • 6
    Documentation not always in sync
  • 4
    Moves quickly
  • 3
    Not Secure
    Be the first to leave a con

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    What is 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

    What is Helm?

    Helm is the best way to find, share, and use software built for Kubernetes.

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    What companies use Helm?
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    What are some alternatives to Docker and Helm?
    LXC
    LXC is a userspace interface for the Linux kernel containment features. Through a powerful API and simple tools, it lets Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers.
    rkt
    Rocket is a cli for running App Containers. The goal of rocket is to be composable, secure, and fast.
    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.
    Cloud Foundry
    Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy, and scale applications.
    Vagrant
    Vagrant provides the framework and configuration format to create and manage complete portable development environments. These development environments can live on your computer or in the cloud, and are portable between Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
    See all alternatives