Top 10 Docker Alternatives You Must Know in 2023

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Written By Aditya Sharma

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Docker alternatives that stand apart include Open Container Initiative (OCI), tools that can work with Docker, replace certain Docker components, and work with other Docker alternatives to create robust Docker rivals.

Docker offers several alternatives to Docker, including standalone options that offer cross-platform support and virtualization technology.

What is Docker?

Docker is a technology platform that allows you to build, ship, and run distributed applications.

It employs a containerization approach for virtualization. This allows developers to package their apps and dependencies in a portable container and then run the container in any environment.

This allows applications to be moved easily from development to production. It also ensures consistency across systems.

Docker's modern tools, compatibility, and large community make it relevant to the majority of container apps and developers.

Docker Inc. has made other modifications to the licensing of Docker Desktop.

These Docker alternatives stand out in 2023 if you are worried about the future of Docker and Kubernetes' exponential growth. There will be more changes.

This article will discuss the top Docker alternatives which stand out in 2023.

1. LXD

Linux-based systems have virtual machines and system container management by the Linux Daemon.

It's fast, secure, and highly scalable.

You can manage more complex workloads by setting them up on cluster management servers using containers or virtual machines (VMs), or both.

LXD can be considered a REST API that links to the Linux Containers (LXC).

2. Containerd

Containerd, a CNCF graduate project, has been Docker's primary container running time for many years. Docker currently uses RunC. Containerd is the container host system. It manages all aspects of the container lifecycle.

3. ZeroVM

ZeroVM, a lightweight and portable tool that is secure, can be used to create isolated environments in which only one process may run at a given time.

This strategy is based on the Chromium Native Client (NaCl), project.

Contrary to this, other virtualization and container technologies offer a fully virtualized operating system as well as a running environment that can run multiple processes.

4. Podman

The Linux-native container engine Podman uses the lib pod library to manage the life of containers.

It can execute commands and other operations such as pulling, tagging and updating OCI images. It also helps you to build, run, and maintain the containers that you create using these images.

5. Vagrant

With HashiCorp's Vagrant, you can replicate multiple, conditioned virtual environments on different operating systems across many virtual machines.

This makes it easy to create a virtual environment you can replicate on different networks, VMs and OSs. This facilitates interoperability.

You may also create virtual environments to support app development, staging, deployment, and maintenance.

6. Microsoft Azure Container Registry

Docker Command-Line tools can be used to store and manage container images in a private Docker registry accessible through Microsoft Azure Container Registry.

It supports Twist Lock compatibility and runtime protection. Additionally, it screens for container vulnerabilities.

Microsoft Azure is second in cloud computing popularity behind Amazon Web Services (AWS). Therefore, it makes sense to run container projects on Microsoft Azure.

7. RunC

RunC is a command-line tool for operating and spawning containers on Linux systems hosted on GitHub.

It performs these tasks based on OCI standards. RunC was once a low-level utility and it wasn't recommended that end users use it directly.

You can now use runC standalone or with Docker.

8. BuildKit

BuildKit, an image-building tool that is included in Docker Build, was created by the Moby Project (Docker version 18.09 or later).

Moby also offers it as an independent tool. Like Docker, BuildKit runs in a daemon. BuildKit, on the other hand, uses parallel build processing to speed up faster builds. Docker creates each layer separately.

9. Buildah

If you need to create OCI container images quickly and without setting up a daemon or runtime container, Buildah is your best choice.

Buildah is primarily focused on OCI photos. Its instructions are identical to those in a Dockerfile.

You can now create images with or without Dockerfiles, without needing root access. Images will be supported by both Docker and Kubernetes.

10. Rkt

The cloud-native application container engine rkt was formerly called CoreOS Rocket. It is suitable for use in cloud production settings.

Rkt is a popular Docker alternative thanks to its pod-native framework, pluggable execution environment, and seamless integration with other systems.

Rkt can be used to adjust settings at both the pod and per-application levels, as well as isolation parameters.

Conclusion: Docker Alternatives

There are many alternatives to Docker for container management and deployment.

LXC or LXD are two popular options for containerization. They offer an efficient and lightweight approach to containerization that can be used for many tasks, including application development, testing, and deployment.

There are also rkt and singularity alternatives. These are specifically designed for scientific and HPC workloads.

Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses. The best choice for your project will depend on your specific requirements.

Before making a final decision, it is important to carefully evaluate each option's capabilities and features.

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