Docker vs. Container: Which Containerization Technology is Right for Your Project?

Docker vs. Container: Which Containerization Technology is Right for Your Project?


The topic of containerization has become increasingly important in the world of software/IT industries. Two of the most popular technologies for containerization are Docker and Containerd. While both of these technologies offer similar functionality, some key differences between them can make one better suited for your project than the other. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Docker and Containerd, and help you determine which containerization technology is right for your project.

What is Containerization?

Before we dive into the differences between Docker and Containerd, it's essential to understand what containerization is and why it has become such a popular topic in the world of software and IT industries.


In simple terms, containerization is the process of packaging an application and its dependencies into a lightweight and portable container. This container can then run on any infrastructure, whether on a local machine, in a cloud environment, or on a virtual machine.

Containers are a way to package software in a format that can run consistently on any platform. This means that a developer can create an application on their personal local machine, test it on their local machine, and then run it on a remote server, all without any changes to the code. This makes it much easier to develop and deploy applications, since there is no need to worry about platform-specific differences.

One of the key benefits of containerization is that it allows developers to create and deploy applications quickly and easily. Because the container includes everything the application needs to run, it can be deployed and run consistently on any infrastructure, without the need to worry about differences in operating systems or other dependencies. This makes it easier for developers to collaborate and share their work and for organizations to scale their applications quickly and efficiently.

What is Docker?

Docker is a fully open source containerization platform that enables developers to package and deploy their applications in a lightweight and portable manner.


Docker uses containers to create a virtual environment containing all the dependencies and libraries required to run an application. This allows developers to build, test, and deploy their applications consistently and predictably, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

One of the main benefits of using Docker is that it allows for more efficient use of resources on a host machine. Since each container is isolated from the others, multiple containers can run on the same host without interfering with each other. This means that a single host machine can run more applications, which can be helpful for organizations that need to run a large number of applications but may not have the resources to run them all on separate machines.

Docker also makes it easier to manage and scale applications. For example, if an application needs to be scaled up to handle more traffic, it is easy to spin up additional containers to handle the extra load. This can be done quickly and easily without the need to provision and configure new machines.

Another advantage of Docker is that it allows for easier collaboration between developers. Since containers contain all of the dependencies required to run an application, it is easy for developers to share their work with others. This means that developers can work on different parts of an application simultaneously without having to worry about conflicts or compatibility issues.

What is Containerd?

Containerd also is a fully open source container runtime designed to be used as a building block for other container platforms, including Docker.


Containerd provides a low-level API that enables developers to create, manage, and distribute containers. Unlike Docker, which includes a full suite of tools and utilities for building, deploying, and managing containers, Containerd focuses on providing a simple and efficient container runtime.

At its core, containerd is a daemon that runs on a host machine and manages the lifecycle of containers. It is responsible for managing the underlying processes that make up a container and providing an interface for other tools and services to interact with those containers. This allows developers and system administrators to easily manage and deploy containers without worrying about the low-level details of how containers work.

Another important aspect of containerd is its modular design. It comprises several different components, each of which performs a specific function within the container ecosystem. This modular design allows users to customize and extend containerd to suit their particular needs easily. It also makes it easy to integrate containerd into existing systems and workflows, allowing users to leverage the power of containers without having to make significant changes to their existing infrastructure.

Key Differences Between Docker and Containerd:

Comparing containerd and Docker is like comparing a screwdriver to a toolbox. Both are essential, but they serve different purposes. While a screwdriver is a single tool used for a specific task, a toolbox holds various tools (including the screwdriver itself) that can be used for multiple tasks. Similarly, containerd is a single tool used for managing containers in a system, while Docker is a suite of tools that includes containerd and other tools for building, deploying, and running containers.

  1. Architecture: One of the key differences between Docker and Containerd is the architecture of the two technologies. Docker uses a client-server architecture, where the Docker daemon (or server) is responsible for managing the containers on a host machine, and the Docker CLI (or client) is used to communicate with the daemon. Containerd, on the other hand, uses a more modular architecture, where different components can be easily added or removed to create a custom container platform.

  2. Scope of functionality: Another critical difference between Docker and Containerd is the scope of functionality the two technologies provide. Docker includes a full suite of tools and utilities for building, deploying, and managing containers, including the Docker CLI, Docker Compose, and Docker Swarm. In contrast, Containerd is focused on providing a simple and efficient runtime for containers and does not include any additional tools or utilities.

  3. Ease of use: Docker and Containerd also differ in terms of their ease of use. Docker is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, with a simple command-line interface and a wealth of documentation and tutorials available online. Containerd, on the other hand, is more geared towards experienced developers and may require a deeper understanding of containerization and runtime environments to use effectively.

Which Containerization Technology is Right for Your Project?

The choice between Docker and Containerd ultimately depends on your project's specific requirements and goals. If you are looking for a complete container platform that is easy to use and provides a wide range of tools and utilities for building, deploying, and managing containers, then Docker may be the right choice. However, if you are looking for a more lightweight and modular container runtime that can be easily integrated into other container platforms, then Containerd may be a better option.


After comparing Docker and Containerd, it can be concluded that the right containerization technology for a project depends on that project's specific needs and requirements. Both Docker and Containerd offer useful features and capabilities for managing and deploying containers, but they differ in some key areas. Docker provides a more comprehensive and user-friendly suite of tools for building, deploying, and managing containers, while Containerd provides a more lightweight and modular option with a focus on core container runtime functionality. Ultimately, the decision on which technology to use should be based on a thorough evaluation of the project's requirements and a consideration of the strengths and limitations of each option.