Docker is a container manager, while VMs are virtual machines. Using Docker means you aren’t limited to a physical machine, and you get to keep your host technology intact.

In addition, VMs can be used even if you don’t have administrative access to the computer, which Docker VMs can’t do. Security is a major concern with Docker because it uses some special features previously used for system-level processes.

Docker is a blessing. However, its rapid rise to success has made it the default choice for newcomers and experienced developers alike. Hopefully, this guide will show you how Docker compares to a traditional VM in terms of usability and performance to make an informed choice.

What is a Docker?

Docker is the world’s leading software containerization platform. It enables developers to package up their applications and dependencies and ship them out as a single package that can get deployed anywhere. Much like how shipping containers revolutionized how cargo is shipped worldwide, Docker containers can do the same for applications.

Docker vs. VM

A Virtual Machine (VM) is a software program or operating system that exhibits the behavior of a separate computer and is also capable of performing tasks such as running applications and programs like an individual computer.

A VM runs on top of a physical machine using a “hypervisor” software (ex: VMware), which allocates hardware resources dynamically and transparently. Each VM includes a full copy of an operating system, the application, necessary binaries, and libraries – taking up tens of GBs. VMs can also be slow to boot.

By contrast, Docker containers include the minimum requirements to run the application – just the application and its dependencies, nothing else. As a result, a Docker container image is much smaller than a VM image: they can range from 5kB – to 1GB, depending on your application needs.

When you create a new container, you create a new environment that shares the Kernel with other containers.

What are Containers?

Containers are an interesting concept in virtualization. They can be thought of as a lightweight virtual machine that runs on top of another operating system. Using containers instead of virtual machines takes up less space on your physical server. Also, they are much easier to manage because they don’t require a full copy of an operating system to run.

Containers Vs. VM

Containers and virtual machines have a lot of similarities, especially in the ways they are used. But they are different in some significant ways.

Both containers and virtual machines allow you to run more than one software application on the same physical machine or host. They also give you portability: if you’ve set up an environment on one Linux machine, you can copy it over to another. And both can help provide isolation so that your applications don’t interfere with each other’s operations.

The main difference between containers and VMs is in how they share resources. Virtual machines create a new copy of the OS for every guest OS installed on them, whereas containers share the OS with other applications running on the host. Containers also share all of their libraries and binaries, saving space and speeding up operations.

It means that containers have much less overhead than VMs, using tens or hundreds of GBs of disk space per instance. Many containers can run on a single VM.

what are containers

Why Use Docker?

Naturally, you want to offer a customer experience that your competitors can’t match, but keeping up with all the new tech innovations is a full-time job.

That’s where Docker comes in. It makes it easy for your team to migrate to the latest applications without worrying about compatibility issues. It also makes it easier for your business to scale by allowing you to deploy micro-services rapidly and respond to market demands quickly.

You’ll be able to give your customers a seamless experience across any platform and device, which will keep them coming back for more. Additionally, Docker will come in handy if you’re looking for new ways to automate processes like inventory management or order tracking — so take advantage now before someone else does.

Other reasons you should use Docker include:

Start Time

Dockers are the fastest way to get your product to market.

Here’s why: Docker is lightweight. It takes a fraction of a second to spin up when you need it, and it uses a fraction of the memory and CPU power of other virtualization solutions. This means you’ll have better security and more control over your app—so you’re doing yourself and your customers a favor.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder why more businesses are switching to Docker lately. So, why not make the switch?


When you choose to use Docker in your workflow, you’re choosing to be more efficient. This is because Docker uses containers to house your software, and containers are made of layers of images, which are essentially snapshots of a container’s file system.

In short, the benefits are this:

Docker saves you storage space because you can reuse the same image for different containers. In addition, Docker is open-source, meaning a large community of developers working on it, making it more robust and secure by the day.

You only need one container to develop your application in any environment; you don’t need to recreate a separate development environment for each operating system or platform.

Code Reuse

Let’s talk Docker. Yes, that Docker—the one that allows you to reuse your code in a variety of ways while maintaining a solid level of consistency between them. It’s the same great software you already know and love, but this time with built-in features that make Docker the best option.

What is a Virtual Machine?

A virtual machine is a virtualized computer system that replicates the functions of a computer. It has its operating system, hard-drive space, and memory, which means it can run independently of other programs on your machine.

It can get used to running multiple operating systems on one machine and as an easy way to test out software in a safe environment before implementing it on your actual computer.

The technology is used to run multiple operating systems on their machines to facilitate the implementation of new technologies and ensure they are compatible with the existing software used by their company before implementation.

When to Use Containers vs. VMs

A lot of people wrongly think containers and virtual machines are interchangeable. They’re not! They are more abstract than virtual machines, making containers more flexible and easier to manage.

Virtual machines create a full software emulation of an entire computing environment to run an existing operating system. It’s like using a computer within a computer. This means VMs require a lot of memory, processing power, and hard drive space to run. Meanwhile, containers don’t need their operating system.

Instead, they use the existing one on your machine. Containers also use fewer resources than virtual machines because they share the same Kernel as the host operating system. However, this also means that containers can only run on systems with compatible kernels—so you wouldn’t be able to run Linux-based containers on a Windows machine.

Virtual machines make sense when you need to run multiple operating systems or legacy applications that don’t work with your existing software stack or infrastructure. On the other hand, they are best for modern apps that run on different platforms—like cloud-based services or applications designed to run across multiple devices like desktop, mobile, and tablets.

Time to Make a Choice

The rise of Docker containers is changing how people think about virtual machine software. However, given the various similarities and differences between VMs and containers, there should be a clear delineation regarding what each program does, how they work, and which program is likely better for a given situation. Hopefully, this practical guide will help shed additional light on this particular debate.