Difference between docker and vm LEARNOVITA

Difference between Docker and Virtual Machine | A Definitive Guide and Which Should You Learn?

Last updated on 02nd Nov 2022, Artciles, Blog

About author

Prasanth Reddy (Java and Spring Boot Developer )

Prasanth Reddy is a Java and Spring Boot Developer with 4+ years of experience in Spring Boot, Swagger, Tomcat, Maven, Jenkins, Git, Postman, Kubernetes, Docker, and Hibernate. His blog is helpful to students to get deep knowledge in Java 7/8, Spring Framework, and Spring Boot.

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    • In this article you will learn:
    • 1.What is Docker?
    • 2.What is a Virtual Machine?
    • 3.Docker vs. Virtual Machine.
    • 4.Key Difference: Docker and Virtual Machine.
    • 5.A Real-Life Use-Case of Docker.
    • 6.Docker vs. Virtual Machine: Which is a Better Choice?
    • 7.Conclusion.

What is Docker?

Docker is a famous virtualization software that helps its users in a developing, deploying, monitoring, and running applications in Docker Container with all their dependencies.Docker containers include all the dependencies (frameworks, libraries, etc.) to run an application in efficient and bug-free manner.Docker Containers have a following benefits:

  • Light-weight.
  • Applications run in isolation.
  • Occupies less space.
  • Easily portable and highly secure.
  • Short boot-up time.

What is a Virtual Machine?

A virtual machine (VM) is the computing environment or software that aids developers to access the operating system by a physical machine.Now, let’s dig into a concept of Docker vs. virtual machine.

Docker and Virtual Machine

Docker vs. Virtual Machine:

    DifferencesDocker Virtual Machine
    Operating system Docker is the container-based model where containers are software packages used for an executing an application on any operating system In Docker, containers share a host OS kernel Here, multiple workloads can run on single OS. It is not container-based model; they use user space along with kernel space of OS It does not share a host kernel Every workload needs a complete OS or hypervisor .
    Performance Docker containers result in a high-performance as they use same operating system with no additional software (like hypervisor) Docker containers can start up quickly and result in a less boot-up time. Since VM uses a separate OS; it causes a more resources to be used Virtual machines don’t start quickly and lead to the poor performance.
    Portability With a docker containers, users can create an application and store it into the container image. Then, he/she can run it across any host environment Docker container is the smaller than VMs, because of which the process of a transferring files on a host’s filesystem is easier. It has a known portability issues. VMs don’t have a central hub and it needs more memory space to a store data While transferring files, VMs should have the copy of the OS and its dependencies because of which image size is increased and becomes tedious process to the share data.
    Speed The application in a Docker containers starts with no delay since OS is already up and running These containers were basically designed to save time in a deployment process of application. It takes much longer time than it takes for the container to run applications To deploy a single application, Virtual Machines need to start entire OS, which would cause full boot process.

Key Difference: Docker and Virtual Machine:

There are more analogies of Docker and virtual machines. Docker containers and virtual machines differ in more ways; let’s discuss one analogy using a apartment vs. bungalow:

    DockerVirtual machine
    Apartment (Eg: Containers). Virtual machine (Eg: Bungalow).
    Most amenities (binary and library) are shared with a neighbors (applications). Amenities (binary and library) cannot be shared with a neighbors (applications).
    Can have the multiple tenants (Applications). Cannot have the multiple tenants (application).
    Containers stop working when a “stop command” is executed. Virtual machines are always in running state .
    It has lots of a snapshots as it builds images upon layers. Doesn’t comprise a many snapshots.
    Images can be version be controlled; they have local registry called a Docker hub. VM doesn’t have central hub; they are not version controlled.
    It can run a multiple containers on a system. It can run only a limited number of VMs on the system.
    It can start a multiple containers at a time on a Docker engine. It can start only single VM on VMX.
Virtual Machine

A Real-Life Use-Case of Docker:

BBC is the British news channel with over a 500 developers working across globe. Let’s move forward and understand what problems the company had and how a Docker resolved them.


  • BBC uses a several languages in various areas of world because of which it consists of over a 10 Continuous Integrations.
  • The company had to identify a way to unify coding processes and monitor Continuous Integration consistently.
  • Also, an existing jobs took up to 60 minutes to schedule and perform task .


  • With help of containers, the developers were able to work in a flexible CI environments.
  • Entire code processes were unified and saved in a single place for simple and quick access.
  • Docker helped in an eliminating job wait time and resulted in speeding up entire process.

Docker vs. Virtual Machine: Which is a Better Choice?

A lot of people have this question, but answer to this so far cannot be a ascertained, but depending upon their configurations and advantages could say that containers are be overcoming virtual machines. The famous global researcher are Gartner has predicted that by a 2023, more than 50% of companies will adopt a Docker containers. However, a serverless container like a Docker will have a raise in revenue from a small base of $465.8 million in 2020 to a $944 million in 2024.


That concludes a Docker vs. VM article. In this write-up, learned what Docker and Virtual machine are, the differences between the Docker and virtual machine, and real-life use case of a Docker .

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