Top 10 Docker Alternatives to Consider in 2023 

Many software developers use Docker for DevOps Services, as it helps automate and speed up all the DevOps routine tasks completion at every stage of the application life cycle. By the way, according to Google, 86% of companies state that it’s crucial for them to develop and start production of new software solutions quickly. 

Docker is a great tool for the optimization of app deployment and management. However, there are several alternatives to Docker that offer similar functionalities or address specific use cases. In this brief piece, we will review and compare them. Below, our friends from Codica collect for our readers ten of the best ones that will be useful to you in 2023.

Podman

It is a container engine provided by Red Hat company from the United States. Podman offers a Docker-compatible command line interface but doesn’t require a daemon to run containers. This tool is secure and lightweight. Podman’s compatibility with Docker commands and its focus on security make it an appealing option for those seeking an alternative container engine.

Although Podman is a powerful alternative to Docker, the choice between them ultimately is affected by your specific use case, preferences, and the ecosystem you are working with. 

Buildah

This tool is helpful for building OCI (Open Container Initiative) images. It can be used to create and modify container images without the need for a Docker daemon.

It’s important to note that Buildah’s primary focus is on building and manipulating container images, while Docker provides a more comprehensive platform for containerization, including image management, container orchestration, and deployment capabilities. Depending on your specific needs, Buildah can be a suitable alternative to Docker when you require fine-grained control over the image-building process.

LXD

This system container manager tool provides a similar user experience to virtual machines but with the performance of containers. It uses the LXC (Linux Containers) library to manage containers.

It’s worth noting that while Docker focuses on lightweight application containerization and deployment, LXD is more suitable for scenarios that require running full system containers with stronger isolation and deeper integration with the underlying OS. The choice between Docker and LXD depends on your specific use case and requirements.

BuildKit

BuildKit is not a direct alternative to Docker itself but rather an alternative to Docker’s built-in image-building capabilities. This tool is a container image builder and distributed build system that can be used as a replacement for Docker’s legacy builder. It offers advanced features and improvements to the image-building process. 

While Docker encompasses a comprehensive container platform, including image building, container management, and orchestration capabilities, BuildKit focuses specifically on enhancing the image-building process. It provides advantages such as improved caching, parallel execution, support for multi-platform images, and customizability of the build process.

Skopeo 

It is a command-line tool for working with container images and repositories. It’s important to note that Skopeo focuses primarily on image inspection, copying, and compatibility, whereas Docker provides a comprehensive platform for containerization, including image building, runtime management, and orchestration. 

The choice between Skopeo and Docker is up to your use case and requirements. Skopeo is particularly useful when you primarily need image-related functionalities without the need for a full container runtime.

Vagrant

This tool is great for building and managing virtual machine environments. It can be used to create development environments that mirror production environments.

Vagrant is not a direct alternative to Docker. It can be used alongside Docker to manage development environments and provide a consistent setup for running containers during development. 

In general, Vagrant focuses more on the creation and management of development environments, while Docker specializes in containerization and deployment.

ZeroVM

It is a lightweight virtualization technology founded by a company in the United States that can be used to run apps in isolated environments. It is designed to be faster and more secure than traditional virtualization technologies.

While ZeroVM provides a different approach to application execution and security compared to Docker, it can complement Docker in certain use cases where enhanced security and isolation are paramount. Surely, the choice between ZeroVM and Docker depends on your specific requirements and the nature of your applications.

Kaniko

Kaniko is a tool that can be used as an alternative to Docker for building container images in a Kubernetes-native manner. Kaniko offers a Kubernetes-native approach to building container images, making it an alternative to Docker when building container images within a Kubernetes environment is a priority. 

Kaniko provides features such as build context isolation, layer caching, and multi-stage builds. These features can be beneficial for optimizing the image build process in Kubernetes-based deployments.

OpenVZ

It is a container-based virtualization system for Linux. It uses a single kernel to run multiple isolated Linux containers on a host system.

It’s important to note that OpenVZ and Docker have diverse design philosophies and use cases. OpenVZ is more suitable for environments where you have full control over the host operating system and require strong isolation between containers. Docker, on the other hand, is widely used for lightweight application-level containerization and is well-integrated into the broader container ecosystem with extensive tooling and community support.

Dive

It is a valuable tool for exploring and analyzing Docker images. It can be used to inspect the layers of an image, explore the contents of a layer, and find differences between images. The Dive tool can be used alongside Docker to gain insights into the composition and size of Docker images, identify opportunities for optimization, and improve resource utilization. 

While Dive is not a direct alternative to Docker, it complements Docker’s capabilities and enhances the image optimization process.

Conclusion

Overall, Docker and its alternatives are powerful tools that enable developers to achieve faster and more efficient deployments while improving the reliability and quality of applications.

When considering Docker alternatives, evaluate the specific requirements of your projects and pick the tool that best aligns with your objectives. Factors to consider include containerization capabilities, integration with existing workflows and tools, compatibility with your infrastructure, security, and isolation features, and community support.