Azure containers vs Docker

If you're seeking a better way to manage your applications, you've likely found both Azure and Docker container solutions. Rather than working against each other as competitors, the two services are actually complementary when it comes to container orchestration.

It's important to understand how these services can help if you're developing a container-based application.

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The Container Concept

Before you dive into the differences between Azure container instances and Dockers and how the two can work together, you need to know what a container is in the context of application development.

Oftentimes, applications are coded on-premises, and they don't act the same when moved off-premises. This can be due to system dependencies or differences in operating systems, libraries, and so on.

Many developers opt for cloud-native containerised applications to ensure a code runs smoothly and correctly on every machine. These applications package everything together to ensure the app has everything it needs to run anywhere.

All the bins and libraries are integrated, adding portability and allowing the app to run on any device where the containerized platform is available.

A while back, developers had to use APIs and virtual machines to manage containerized apps. Now, they can use serverless workflows to make their containerized apps more portable and lighter weight.

Using cloud-based solutions to orchestrate containers adds other functionality, like real-time analytics and efficient load balancing.

Azure containers vs Docker

What Are Microsoft Azure Container Instances?

The Azure Container Service, or Azure container registry, is intended to work hand in hand with Azure. It's open-source and optimized for flexible client-side tooling. If you're using the Azure platform, you'll be able to configure and manage several workloads using IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS.

If you run containers created with a platform other than Azure, like Kubernetes clusters, Azure Container Service allows you to run them using the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

As such, Azure container instances are well-liked for being stable and simple. It's not hard to learn the container system, and, with highly compressed data, it's easy to run multiple workloads at the same time.

What Are Docker Container Images?

As an open-source container platform, the Docker Hub might seem like a competitor to Azure, but the two actually work well together. Unlike Azure, Docker is designed to help you create containers rather than run them, and it works side by side with IronWorker when you need to handle batch processing.

A docker image is easy to use and offers excellent runtime, all while ensuring consistency across your systems. Docker is Linux based and has been around for quite some time, making it very stable.

With the container system, Docker also requires less space to run your applications. The footprint of a container is small enough that it won't disturb your resources and you can use Docker compose to build your apps before sending them off to the Azure portal or another container service.

Using Docker Swarms, you can configure physical or virtual machines (VMs) to run the applications you design.

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Pros and Cons of Docker

The primary benefits of using Docker are its consistency and automation capabilities. Docker works the same across multiple platforms, which can eliminate significant stress on the development side of things. Meanwhile, Docker's ability to automate the repetitive tasks that plague developers on a day-to-day basis is also quite powerful.

The biggest downside to Docker is the fact that the Docker container ecosystem is always changing. Since it's open source, there are always new updates and info, but these changes can be tough to keep up with. Docker also takes time from the beginning to get started, especially for those new to the container concept.

Ultimately, Docker is constantly growing and changing, but not always for the better. In addition to the initial steep learning curve, many developers find that the continuous growth and changes are simply too much to keep up with. You'll also find yourself using the Docker command-line interface (CLI) quite often, which may be yet another element for your developers to familiarize themselves with.

Pros and Cons of Azure Container Instances

The biggest advantages of the Azure container service are the high availability and security practices that support the entire Azure platform. As such, it's also highly scalable and generally quite cost-effective. Yet, it has its downsides.

Many feel that Azure could be more customizable. Azure also fails to cooperate with some open source tools, so integrations can be frustrating. While Azure is open source itself, Azure container services are optimized and designed to work with the Azure environment and they don't play well with other systems you may want to use.

On top of that, Azure container services require quite a bit of management to keep things running smoothly. This can take time away from the value-adding tasks your development team should be working on. And if your team isn't already familiar with the various aspects of Azure, you could end up over-provisioning resources and overlooking important elements that contribute to your serverless environment's efficiency.

Azure containers vs Docker

How Can Help

Are you seeking a solution for your containerized applications? Iron offers Containers as a Service, or CaaS, to help businesses like yours connect their systems and gain better visibility into their processes, all while boosting performance and enjoying a system that will scale with them. Iron has the ideal solution.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo and see what Iron can do for your business.

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