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Docker or Virtual Machines – Which is a Better Choice?

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Pre-requisite: Docker and VM

When businesses were looking to transform their operations through the use of advanced technology in the past but were constrained by a variety of software, cloud, and on-premises infrastructure, they developed two solutions, namely Docker and Virtual Machines, which were introduced to address these business problems with a container platform. These software platforms make the process of deploying applications and microservices simpler. Let’s now discover how they differ from one another. In this composition, we’ll compare the differences and give our keenness to help you decide between the two. Before we get started agitating about Docker vs VM differences, let’s first explain the basics.


Docker is a free-to-use, open-source vessel-operation platform that provides tons of tools and serviceability to make, test, and emplace operations. You can produce packaged, insulated, and platform-independent holders with all the libraries and dependencies pre-built. This will allow you to develop and partake in operations fluently. 

You can separate your operations from the underpinning host structure and deliver software operations snappily by reducing the detention in erecting the law and planting products. The Docker holders sit on top of the operating system of the underpinning host machine. They share the kernel space of the host machine. still, each vessel is insulated from other holders because they’ve separate user space. Only the kernel space participates in the case of holders.

Virtual Machine

A Virtual Machine (VM) is a virtual terrain that functions as a virtual computer system with its CPU, memory, network interface, and storehouse, created on a physical tackle system (located out or on-premises). Software called a hypervisor separates the machines from the hardware and vittles them meetly so they can be used by the VM. The physical machines, equipped with a hypervisor similar to Kernel- grounded Virtual Machine(KVM), are called the host machine, host computer, host operating system, or simply host. The numerous VMs that use its things are guest machines, computers, operating systems, or simply guests. The hypervisor treats computer things — like CPU, memory, and storehouse — as a pool of things that can fluently be dislocated between being guests or new virtual machines.

Docker vs VM


Docker vs Virtual Machine



Virtual Machine


Boots in seconds

Boots in minutes


Pre-built docker containers are easily available

Ready-made VMs are difficult to find


Less resource usage

More resource usage


Containers are lightweight (KBs/MBs)

VMs are of few GBs

Operating System

Each container can share OS

Each VM has a separate OS


Containers are destroyed and re-created instead of moving

VMs can move to new hosts easily

Runs on

Dockers make use of the execution engine.

VMs make use of the hypervisor.


Docker has a complex operation medium conforming of both third-party and docker-managed tools.

Tools are simpler to work with and easy to use.


Containers stop working with the execution of the “stop command”

VMs are always in the working running state 


Images can be interpretation controlled; they have an original registry called Docker Hub.

VM doesn’t have a central hub; they aren’t interpretation controlled

Memory Management

It is more memory efficient. It is less memory efficient.


It has no provision for an isolation system which is why it is highly prone to problems. It has an efficient isolation mechanism.


It is easy to deploy and takes less time compared to Virtual Machines. It is a lengthy process. Hence, it takes lots of time for deployment.


It is a little difficult to use because of the complex usage mechanism. It is easy to use.

Which is a Better Choice?

As a DevOps Engineer for any organization, my main focus is always on two key parameters, and they are speed and efficiency, in which Docker is better at providing these two crucial components than virtual machines, but I still cannot declare it a Winner. This is despite the fact that by reading the aforementioned points carefully, we have understood that Docker is better than virtual machines in many cases, and the same goes for virtual machines.

Many people have this question, but the answer to this so far cannot be caught on but depending upon their configurations and advantages we could say that holders are prostrating virtual machines. The notorious global experimenter Gartner has prognosticated that by 2023, further than 50 companies will borrow Docker holders. Still, a serverless vessel like Docker will have a rise in profit from a small base of$465.8 million in 2020 to$ 944 million in 2024.

Major IT conglomerates have given Docker much-needed exposure, and the market dynamics for virtual machines are rapidly shifting. Production environments use virtual machines, and after understanding the aforementioned principles, I’m confident you have the clarity required to appreciate the distinctions between these two ideas. Picking a winner would not be fair because Docker and Virtual Machines have different uses. In actuality, they are two instruments that, in terms of usage and workload ease, complement one another.

While Docker is designed to offer greater flexibility for apps that need regular modifications and updates, virtual machines are made for static programs that do not change significantly over time. We would claim that Virtual Machines cannot be replaced by Docker and vice versa. As a result, DevOps teams will have more options for running their native cloud applications.

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Last Updated : 30 Mar, 2023
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