Ultimate Comparision between Docker Containers vs Virtual Machine

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Ultimate Comparision between Docker Containers vs Virtual Machine

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In this article, we are going to check out the Ultimate Comparision between Docker Containers vs Virtual Machines.

Docker containers and virtual machines are totally different in their architecture however are regularly confused to be the same. In this article, we will see the distinction between a docker container and virtual machines by understanding their design and how they work on top of the host operating system.

We have understood so far how the Docker container functions, using a similar OS Kernel with resource limitations done utilizing the cgroups and namespaces to choose the limits of a docker container. We should dig a piece further to get what this is.

Docker Engine uses the Host OS Kernel(Linux) for communicating with the underlying hardware. Every one of the containers running on docker has a similar Host OS Kernel, thus they don't need to set up their own OS Kernel which makes them lightweight.

Additionally, inside a docker container, just a single application cycle must run, as suggested by docker, and the container must have its expected libraries and dependencies.

Every single container running on the docker is totally isolated from one another.

Containers run locally on Linux and if you want to setup it up on Windows operating system, the windows docker application will be installing a Linux virtual machine for itself.

Virtual Machine

Unlike a container, a virtual machine doesn't use the host OS Kernel, in actuality, it introduces its own guest Operating system. The virtual machine likewise copies the hardware layer, which virtually uses the host resources through a hypervisor.

This makes the virtual machine heavy and slow.

Virtual Machine Architecture

One virtual machine is totally isolated from another virtual machine. On account of the virtual machine, you can even install different operating systems on various virtual machines.

Containers vs Virtual Machine

Since you have perceived the difference among containers and Virtual Machines, we should see the fundamental distinctions between both:

Docker Containers

  • Containers are Smaller in size
  • Bootup is fast.
  • Share resources managed via cgroups by OS Kernel.
  • It also shares the same OS Kernel.

Virtual Machine

  • Larger in size, generally in GB.
  • Bootup is slow.
  • Complete isolation from each other.


Docker isn't intended for virtualizing an operating system with its Kernel, yet it is made to bundle an application in a frozen application state which can be run inside a container.

For a huge scope infrastructure setup, we have virtual machines running OS introduced on server racks on top of which docker is run with its containers running individual services.

In the next article, we will figure out how to install docker locally on various operating systems.

Check out other articles in this series: Docker Tutorials

1) Introduction to Docker and Docker Containers

2) Ultimate Comparision between Docker Containers vs Virtual Machine

3) Complete Setup to Install Docker

4) Hello World Program in Docker

5) 3 Simple Steps to Deploy on Docker