The 9 best Docker alternatives for container management


Containers are very useful for software development, deployment, and management in a virtual environment. Docker is useful in the containerization process, but it’s not the only platform out there. If you’re looking for alternatives to Docker, look no further. This list shows some feature-rich and efficient Docker alternatives that you can use in your next project.

An image showing the Podman website


Podman is an open source container engine. This Linux native engine is best for developing, running, and managing Linux OCI containers and container images. This allows you to control and use containers via a simple interface.

Although it has a command line interface like Docker, it is daemonless, which means that its functionality doesn’t depend on the daemon. Instead, it uses a runtime process to interact directly with the Linux kernel and registry.

Related: Virtual Machine vs. Container: What’s the Difference?

Podman does not need root access. Therefore, it restricts potentially dangerous processes for an additional safety buffer. Without daemons, the engine has improved flexibility as its dependency on a single process can cause child processes to fail.

A visual showing the ZeroVM portal


ZeroVM is an open source virtual environment based on Google’s Chromium Native Client. This isolated platform for embedding applications is highly secure. Since it does not virtualize a complete operating system, it takes less time to start and also saves computing power.

You can also deploy it in different environments for application processes. This system does not simulate the entire environment like a normal VM. Instead, it facilitates faster deployment by virtualizing only the storage space to run the application. It also provides security for unverified code. It also has the unique ability to isolate any process without a kernel or operating system.

A picture of the OpenVz website


OpenVZ is a Linux-based containerization technology. Although it has similar features and functionality to Docker, its toolset allows it to perform tasks beyond application delivery.

Related: The Inestimable Benefits of Moving to Linux

It’s a hypervisor that hosts virtual servers with features like distributed cloud storage, management tools, and dedicated support. With OpenVZ you can access and develop apps independently in the entire network.

You can create more than one isolated Linux container on a single server. Since each container has independent root access, there is no risk of conflicting apps if several are running on the platform at the same time.

OpenVZ’s Network File System (NFS) enables you to access network hard drive files from OpenVZ-hosted virtual servers. If you are a system administrator, you can share virtual servers between multiple physical servers using NFS.

Rancher is orchestration software that allows you to manage container clusters with minimal effort. It’s especially useful for large-scale app development in a large network or multiple teams.

Depending on the administrator settings and configurations, it can automate the entire cluster administration process. This allows administrators to easily manage the complex environment, which consists of several clusters. You can also make the process bug-free by removing one user from all cluster groups at once.

After organizing the cluster, you can offer permissions and permissions to each user so that they can easily use the specified environment.

A picture with the Containerd website


Containerd is a standalone container runtime application that focuses on simplicity and portability. This popular and independent Docker alternative is also a handy Orchestrator tool that doesn’t manage image creation or volume creation.

As a low-level container, it offers excellent performance as an entry-level platform for development. It is equipped with an interface between container engines and operating systems.

The platform provides abstraction to skip the complexities you may have faced creating various low-level system calls. It also has features like container creation management, snapshot management, push and pull functionality, etc.

A visual showing the VirtualBox website


VirtualBox offers developers an open source virtual platform for developing and running applications. You can also use this app to create multiple virtual machines that run on multiple operating systems. This feature makes the platform a perfect option for apps that require a different operating system to run.

It also has the ability to migrate data from one operating system to another using cloud-based storage. Virtual machines use a different operating system kernel than the host machine to ensure user safety.

This app can also run graphics-based apps, share files and folders, and provide cross-platform support – all without hardware virtualization. You can also use it to store and back up files to cloud-based storage.

RunC is a standardized, interoperable container runtime that used to be a Docker component. This stand-alone modular tool can greatly improve the portability of containers. It also helps move development processes seamlessly during hardware upgrades.

You can use this child of the container engine with or without Docker. It is a reliable tool for quick testing and development in isolated environments.

An image showing the Buildah portal


Buildah is an OCI image builder that you can use as a containerization system. It creates OCI-compliant images from a Docker file or a container file.

In addition, it gives you granular control over the images and the layers created. Hence, you can make multiple changes that become a single layer at the same time. With this platform, you can enjoy similar advantages when running an image in Docker. It can also create blank images that you can customize from scratch.

Kubernetes, also known as K8, is a popular open source container automation system. Google developed this platform to manage apps in physical, virtual or cloud environments. Regardless of the hosting platform, you can control thousands of containerized applications and workloads.

This ecosystem also functions as an API that can perform tasks such as coordinating, controlling, and automating multiple containers from a single system. With the integrated isolation mechanism you can group containers according to root rights.

You can also use it to control multiple nodes or clusters and automatically reschedule inactive nodes. You can also increase security, networking, and load balancing on all nodes. This Docker alternative makes project collaboration easy as you can avoid the complexities of dealing with multiple container resources.

Choose the right container

While Docker is a widely used platform for containerization and container management, its competitors are not far behind. If you go through the comprehensive list of Docker alternatives, you are sure to find the platform that suits your needs. When choosing the right container, you may also want to know which web app development framework is best for you.

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