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Docker vs Kubernetes vs OpenShift – A Detailed Comparison

Docker Vs Kubernetes Vs Openshift - tecbrix.com

Around 70% of organizations are gearing up to adopt container-based development models as containers are the emerging miracle of this decade in the tech world. A recent survey concluded that many organizations are considering shifting toward container technology to address their foremost challenges.

This blog post will highlight some major differences between Docker Kubernetes vs OpenShift. Let’s dive deep into further details.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a free and open-source container orchestration platform used to streamline the deployment and management of clustered applications that depend on Linux containers. Kubernetes can be implemented on clouds, in-house systems, or hybrid frameworks.

What Is Docker?

Docker is an open-source container (not container orchestration) platform for cloud or in-house frameworks. Docker Engine is a runtime development environment that allows containers for an app to be developed by leveraging Docker files or images. Experts also leverage Docker Engine for Docker container runs.

What is OpenShift?

Developed & introduced by RedHat, OpenShift is an open-source but paid container orchestration platform to assist enterprise-grade organizations in developing, deploying, and orchestrating containers. OpenShift is a Kubernetes derivative, incorporating Kubernetes components and additional RedHat utilities. In simple words, RedHat & Google are known to offer a significant contribution to Kubernetes.

OpenShift Consulting Services - tecbrix.com

Differences Between Docker vs. Kubernetes vs OpenShift

1. Projects vs. product

Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform comes as a paid subscription product. Engineers at Red Hat critically developed, maintained, and upgraded it over time. RedHat offers dedicated support for product subscribers during the subscription tenure.

Docker offers two variants. The Docker Community Edition is a free product. Whereas Docker Enterprise Edition (EE), is a commercial product that comes with enterprise-grade & dedicated support.

Also Read: Azure DevOps Vs Jira – Everything You Need to Know

On the other hand, Kubernetes is a free-of-cost and open-source project you can use for free. But it lacks any dedicated support. And you need to look towards their community support for your queries.

2. Installation And Management

Installation of OpenShift requires RedHat Enterprise Linux or Atomic for OpenShift 3.0 and RedHat CoreOS for OpenShift 4.0. Different public & private cloud services support this product, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), MS Azure, or IBM Cloud.

On the other hand, Kubernetes and Docker can be installed on any Linux commercial or community-backed distribution. Kubernetes and Docker can be deployed on public, private, in-house, or hybrid frameworks. They can be installed on Mac or Windows systems except Microsoft’s Win 10. Docker can also be deployed on Microsoft Server 1709 & 2016.

Additionally, if you want assistance in managing Kubernetes. In that case, Google Cloud (Google Kubernetes Engine), Microsoft Azure (Azure Kubernetes Services), and AWS (Elastic Kubernetes Services) entertain managed services along with hosting for Kubernetes frameworks.

Kubernetes Consultancy Services - tecbrix.com

3. Container Image Management

The most preferred management utility for most professionals is OpenShift’s ImageStream. Whereas Kubernetes lacks any container image management utility. instead, It allows you to set up a Docker image registry (like Docker Hub) and entices images from Docker’s registry.

Docker provides a Docker Hub registry to share images with supported 3rd-party registries like Microsoft Azure Container Registry. Docker professionals can also leverage access to the latest Image Management Dashboard to share rich control and management over stored or shared images.

4. Scalability And Size

All three platforms offer streamlined and manual scaling. Additionally, Kubernetes’ immense flexibility & horizontal scalability makes it more flexible than Docker.

When we compare Docker vs Kubernetes vs OpenShift, Kubernetes is the largest and most flexible among all. For instance, it can support over 5,000 nodes compared to 1000 nodes of Docker Swarm. With 30 containers for each node make the total containers count for Kubernetes is 0.3 Million compared to 30 thousand containers in Docker Swarm.

5. Security

OpenShift’s commercial versions offer strict security methodologies. For example, OpenShift restricts its user base from running a container as a system administrator or root. It also limits you from using any simple container images. Apart from that, your OpenShift also restricts its users to ensure a minimum security threshold. Its dedicated server also makes it easier for the users to leverage authorization & authentication features. Like Docker, OpenShift also scans images for threats or loopholes.

The Docker Swarm also incorporates mutual encryption & authentication modes to secure the communication.

When it comes to discussing Docker vs Kubernetes vs OpenShift, all of them restrict network access based on the roles of team members within an organization. OpenShift also incorporates strict regulatory and access control policies.

Kubernetes ensures you must set up security checks like authentication manually. It includes creating bearer tokens or implementing other authentication practices manually. This is undoubtedly a mundane and time-constraining activity.

CI/CI Infrastructure Support

Comprehensive and capable CI/CD (Continuous Integration and continuous Deployment) utilities are absent in Kubernetes, OpenShift, as well Dockers. However, they support 3rd-party utilities like CircleCI for developing rugged CI/CD pipelines in Kubernetes, Docker, or OpenShift. OpenShift also features a dedicated CI tool as a trusted Jenkins container. Jenkins is one of the most rugged, flexible, and state-of-the-art CI/CD frameworks used by professionals in the DevOps Community.


Now you have a clear idea about the efficacy or limitations of Docker vs Kubernetes vs OpenShift that relies on the user’s needs, expertise, and usage.

It can be concluded that OpenShift features high-end security features, commercial customer support, user-friendly UI, and an option of the paid or commercial version. Being an open-source platform, OpenShift would not restrict you from sticking to the RedHat utilities as you can easily employ 3rd-party apps or utilities.

Docker is a container development product to develop Docker images. It supports different platforms, including OpenShift as well as Kubernetes. Docker Swarm enables dedicated tools to manage clusters in Docker. It’s more user-friendly and simple compared to Kubernetes, along with integrated security protocols & encryptions.

Kubernetes offers more scalability, flexibility, and in-house, cloud, or hybrid deployment capabilities and keep your framework performing as per your customized needs or defined criteria. It also offers support for 3rd-party utilities.

If you want to develop container images, Docker is your cup of tea. But for container orchestration, you can choose between OpenShift and Kubernetes based on your use cases, scalability, and budget, keeping in mind the integrated Jenkins support for CI in Dockins.

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