The advantages of container technology are minimizing the load of managing and deploying multifaceted applications. Containers put all essential dependencies in one set. They are easily manageable, secure, fast, portable, and scalable, which makes them the main choice over conventional VMs. To scale, you require a container orchestration tool to manage multiple containers.

These days, the most well-known container orchestration platforms are Kubernetes and Docker Swarm. However, both have merits and demerits and a specific function. In this read, we will be looking at both to assist you in determining which container orchestration tool is suited for your business.

Docker Swarm

This is an open-ended container orchestration program developed and maintained by Docker. In its inner workings, Docker Swarm changes several Docker Instances into one virtual host. Generally, a Docker Swarm group comprises three elements:

  1.  Load balancers
  2. Services and tasks
  3.  Nodes

Nodes are separate illustrations of the Docker engine that run your group and handle the containers used to manage your tasks and services. Docker Swarm collections also encompass load balancing to transmit requests through nodes.

Pros of Docker Swarm

Doing a Docker Swarm installation is simple, particularly for people looking to get into the container orchestration realm. It can be used easily and is lightweight. Additionally, Docker Swarm takes a short duration to comprehend compared to more elaborate orchestration tools. Finally, it offers automated load balancing inside the Docker packages, while other orchestration tools need manual operation. 

Docker Swarm collaborates with Docker CLI; hence you need not worry about installing or running the new CLI. Moreover, it operates smoothly with existing Docker tools like Docker Compose. Docker Swarm doesn’t need configuration modifications if your system operates in Docker.

Cons of Docker Swarm

Despite its advantages, there are some potential pitfalls of using Docker Swarm that you should be conversant with.

Firstly, it’s not heavy and is connected to the Docker API, which constricts performance in Docker Swarm more than Kubernetes. Also, the automation features of Docker Swarm are not as strong as the ones provided by Kubernetes. 


This is an open-ended container orchestration program that Google created to run its containers. Kubernetes is a more intricate group structure compared to Docker Swarm. It often contains a builder and operator nodes architecture grouped further into config maps, namespaces, pods, etc.

Pros of Kubernetes

Kubernetes delivers a myriad of advantages to teams that want a reliable container orchestration tool:

  • It contains a broad, open-ended community and has the full backing of Google.
  • It can run on any operating system.
  • It can withstand and run bulky architectures and complex workloads.  
  • It’s computerized and contains a self-healing capability that boosts automatic scaling.
  • It contains an in-built monitoring system and a wide selection of available incorporations.
  • All three major cloud service providers provide it: AWS, Azure, and Google.

Due to its wide-ranging community member base and aptitude for handling even the most intricate deployment incidents, Kubernetes is usually the go-to for business development teams operating microservice-focused applications.

Cons of Kubernetes

Despite its wide-ranging feature collection, Kubernetes also comes with some demerits:

  • It comes with a vertical learning curve and composite installation procedure.

  • You must put in individual CLI tools and learn every tool.

  • The shift from Docker Swarm to Kubernetes can be intricate and challenging.

In other instances, Kubernetes can be super complex and result in a decrease in productivity.

Kubernetes vs. Docker Swarm: similarities and dissimilarities

Up to this point, we have looked at the merits and demerits of every platform for the most part. Now let’s examine their significant similarities and dissimilarities. First, we will compare the two programs’ framework prerequisites, accessibility and scaling, app deployment abilities, security, monitoring features, and load balancing.

Installation, configuration, and learning curve

Docker Swarm is much more straightforward to install than Kubernetes, and commands are often coherent throughout the OS. Configuring a Docker Swarm group is uncomplicated compared to configuring Kubernetes. It’s simpler to learn than its opposite number and functions with the existing CLI. In contrast to Docker Swarm, Kubernetes has a more intricate installation system and needs manual operation. The input guidelines can vary for every OS. It’s challenging to master and contains an isolated CLI tool.

Application deployment

Applications from Docker Swarm are essentially microservices or services you can install using Docker Compose or YAML files. Kubernetes offers a wide selection of alternatives, like deployments, pods, and a mixture of namespaces.

Availability and scaling

Docker Swarm offers increased accessibility because it allows you to copy the Docker Swarm microservices. Furthermore, Docker Swarm has a quicker deployment duration. Conversely, it doesn’t provide programmed scaling. Kubernetes is, by default, highly accessible, self-healing, and fault tolerant. It also facilitates programmed scaling and can copy faulty pods if need be.


Docker Swarm sustains monitoring via third-party apps only. There aren’t any ingrained monitoring systems. Conversely, Kubernetes comes with built-in monitoring and sustains incorporation with third-party monitoring tools.


Docker Swarm depends on transport layer security (TLS) to conduct access control and security-related tasks. Kubernetes reinforces security protocols like SSL/TLS, RBAC, policies, secrets management, etc.

Load balancing

Docker Swarm bolsters automatic load balancing and utilizes DNS in its inner workings. Kubernetes doesn’t come with an auto load-balancing system. Still, Nginx Ingress can function as the load balancer for every service inside the group.

K3s as an alternative

The critical distinction between both programs is that Docker Swarm is more novice-friendly and lightweight, whereas Kubernetes is intricate and heavy. Developers aiming to get a balance between the two should consider going for a new program, K3s. K3s take away the intricacy associated with Kubernetes and deliver a lighter and more manageable experience.

K3 is a small binary that executes the entire Kubernetes API. It’s tiny since the binary doesn’t contain unnecessary packs. You can include features fast using add-ons from third parties. It has high functionality, is lightweight, and is accredited by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

K3s is Docker Swarm-friendly and ideal for users uncertain whether they want the all-inclusive Kubernetes. It is a suitable substitute for the heavy Kubernetes.

Which Container Orchestration Tool should you use?

Both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes perform specific tasks. The ideal platform for you is contingent on the needs of your company.

For newbies, Docker is the simplest solution to managing and scaling your containers. However, if your organization wants to venture into the container sector and doesn’t have hefty workloads to manage, you should consider going for Docker Swarm.

If your apps are complicated and you’re searching for an all-inclusive package that encompasses high availability, self-healing, security features, absolute flexibility, and monitoring, then you should consider Kubernetes.

If you want all the features of Kubernetes but are dissuaded by its learning curvature, then K3s is definitely for you.

Docker Swarm vs. Kubernetes Conclusion

In this guide, we have reviewed the two predominant container orchestrators, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. Docker Swarm is more straightforward to operate and light than Kubernetes. Conversely, Kubernetes is intricate but robust and offers self-healing, automated scaling features. K3s are ideal if you don’t want to undergo the upward learning curvature associated with Kubernetes. The needs of your organization will determine which orchestration platform to select. Before you make any final decision, take into account the experience and objectives of your team. Regardless of the tool you opt for, you will be better placed to manage and scale your containerized applications. 

Looking to modernize your data infrastructure? Digital Data can help! We offer Kubernetes consulting services to help you migrate to Kubernetes and take advantage of its many benefits. Contact us today to learn more!