Kubernetes and Docker are two of the major players in container orchestration. Both of these tools enable you to handle a cluster of servers that run one or more services on them. So, before jumping into the comparison part, let’s get an overview of these two tools.


  • An open-source platform created by Google for container deployment operations, scaling up and down, and automation across the clusters of hosts.
  • Production-ready, enterprise-grade, self-healing (auto-scaling, auto-replication, auto-restart, auto-placement) platform is modular, and so it can be utilised for any architecture deployment.
  • Can distribute the load amongst containers.

Their power lies in easy scaling, environment agnostic portability, and flexible growth.

Docker Swarm

  • As a platform, Docker has revolutionised the manner software was packaged. Docker Swarm or simply An open-source container orchestration platform and is the native clustering engine for and by Docker. Any software, services, or tools that run with Docker containers run equally well in Swarm.
  • Utilises the same command line from Docker.
  • Turns a pool of Docker hosts into a virtual, single host.

Swarm is especially useful for people who are trying to get comfortable with an orchestrated environment or who need to adhere to a simple deployment technique but also have more just one cloud environment or one particular platform to run this on.

Kubernetes vs. Docker Swarm

Section Kubernetes Swarm
Application definition An application can be deployed in Kubernetes utilizing a combination of services (or microservices), deployments, and pods. The applications can be deployed as micro-services or services in a swarm cluster in Docker Swarm. YAML files can be utilised to identify multi-container. Moreover, Docker compose can install the application.
Networking The networking model is a flat network, allowing all pods to interact with one another. The network policies specify how the pods interact with each other. The flat network is implemented typically as an overlay. The model needs two CIDRs: one for the services and the other from which pods acquire an IP address. The Node joining a swarm cluster generates an overlay network for services that span every host in the docker swarm and a host-only docker bridge network for containers. The users have a choice to encrypt container data traffic while creating of an overlay network by on their own in docker swarm.
Scalability For distributed systems, Kubernetes is more of an all-in-one framework. It is a complex system because it provides strong guarantees about the cluster state and a unified set of APIs. This slows down container scaling and deployment. Docker Swarm, when compared to Kubernetes, can deploy container much faster and this allows faster reaction times to scale on demand.
High Availability All the pods in kubernetes are distributed among nodes and this offers high availability by tolerating the failure of application. Load balancing services in kubernetes detect unhealthy pods and get rid of them. So, this supports high availability. As the services can be replicated in Swarm nodes, Docker Swarm also offers high availability. The Swarm manager nodes in Docker Swarm are responsible for the entire cluster and handle the worker nodes’ resources.
Container Setup Kubernetes utilizes its own YAML, API, and client definitions and each of these differ from that of standard docker equivalents. That is to say, you cannot utilize Docker Compose nor Docker CLI to define containers. While switching platforms, YAML definitions and commands need to be rewritten. The Docker Swarm API doesn’t entirely encompass all of Docker’s commands but offers much of the familiar functionality from Docker. It supports most of the tools that run with Docker. Nevertheless, if Docker API is deficient of a particular operation, there doesn’t exist an easy way around it utilizing Swarm.
Load Balancing Pods are exposed via service, which can be utilized as a load balancer within the cluster. Generally, an ingress is utilized for load balancing. Swarm mode consists of a DNS element that can be utilized for distributing incoming requests to a service name. Services can be assigned automatically or can run on ports specified by the user.

Ref: https://thenewstack.io/kubernetes-vs-docker-swarm-whats-the-difference/


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