The Top 7 Container Management Software

Overview

In this article, we will review the Top 7 container management solutions in 2020. The services we will be covering are:

  • IronWorker
  • Amazon ECS
  • AWS Fargate
  • Google Kubernetes Engine
  • Apache Mesos
  • Portainer
  • Rancher

IronWorker is a high-performance, feature-rich container management solution that powers some of the world’s top websites. Contact us today to start your 14-day free trial of IronWorker.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Containers are software units that package together an application’s source code with its runtime environment, including libraries, frameworks, and configuration settings. In so doing, containers help your software operate consistently and predictably, no matter which system it’s running on.

Containers are software units that package together an application’s source code with its runtime environment, including libraries, frameworks, and configuration settings. In so doing, containers help your software operate consistently and predictably, no matter which system it’s running on.

Given the appeal of container solutions such as Docker and Kubernetes, it’s no surprise that container adoption and investment continues to grow rapidly among enterprise IT teams. To make the process even easier, many businesses employ container management software to automatically create, deploy, and scale containers.

But which container management software is best for your needs? Below, we’ll discuss 7 of the top container management software tools, so that you can make the choice that’s right for your situation.

The Top 7 Container Management Software

1. IronWorker

We’d be remiss here if we didn’t mention that IronWorker is one of the best container management software tools on the market. IronWorker is a container-based, distributed work-on-demand platform that’s built on top of the Docker container format.

The advantages of IronWorker include its ease of use and excellent support. IronWorker comes with a simple visual dashboard with strong reporting and analytics functionality, giving you insight into both high-level trends and low-level granularities. In addition, IronWorker offers detailed documentation and “white-glove” assistance to clients who need help developing custom configurations.

One of the best features of IronWorker is its tremendous flexibility. IronWorker is capable of deploying in whatever environment you need it to, including:

  • Shared cloud infrastructure
  • Hybrid cloud and on-premises environments
  • Iron.io’s dedicated server hardware
  • On-premises IT infrastructure

IronWorker currently has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on the business software review website G2. One user writes:

“I improved my CSV breakdown work drastically by putting 10 IronWorkers on the job. Up to that point, I was just using larger AWS instances… The UI is very intuitive and gives really good detail about the time each job takes. I can run my Workers and then have them put the finished product on a message queue—which means my whole ETL process is done without any hassle.”

2. Amazon ECS

Amazon Web Services is the most popular public cloud infrastructure platform, and for good reason: it offers a wide range of products and capabilities, from storage and compute to machine learning and data migration. Amazon ECS is a fully managed container orchestration service from AWS that is one of the top container management software tools.

The benefits of Amazon ECS include:

  • Scalability and high performance, with the ability to deploy thousands of containers simultaneously.
  • Access permissions that strictly govern the resources available for each container, helping maintain a high degree of security.
  • Excellent reliability, with guaranteed monthly uptime of 99.99 percent.

G2 reviewers currently give Amazon ECS a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Reviewer Dave B. praises the service’s “power, flexibility, and customizability in setting up multiple containers on a set of EC2 instances. Great to deploy to one or more instances (kinda sorta easily), and fairly comprehensive providing information about the instances to which you’re deploying. It ties in pretty nicely with the rest of the Amazon ecosystem.” However, he also mentions some negatives of the platform, including a high learning curve and a difficult debugging process.

3. AWS Fargate

AWS Fargate is a container management solution that is specifically designed for serverless computing. Serverless computing is a computing paradigm in which the end user doesn’t have to worry about provisioning and managing servers. It’s worth noting that AWS Fargate isn’t the only container management software to use the serverless paradigm: for example, IronWorker also offers serverless capabilities, handling messy behind-the-scenes questions about infrastructure and scaling.

Rather than being its own container management software, AWS Fargate is used in conjunction with Amazon ECS to deploy, manage, and scale containers in the cloud. To get started, users simply have to build the container image, specify the system requirements (including CPU and memory), define the necessary access and network policies, and finally deploy the container. In addition to Amazon ECS, Fargate is also compatible with Amazon EKS, the AWS “Kubernetes as a service” offering.

AWS Fargate currently has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on G2. One user writes: “Fargate’s UI is simple and very easy to navigate. I love that the AWS Fargate product allows for container storage management without the management of servers, as well.” However, common complaints about Fargate include higher costs and a few annoying feature limitations.

4. Google Kubernetes Engine

Not to be outdone by AWS, Google Cloud Platform also offers its own container management software: Google Kubernetes Engine. GKE works with Docker containers and uses the Kubernetes open-source container management system.

The benefits of Google Kubernetes Engine include:

  • Automatic container and environment management, including scaling, repairing nodes, and upgrading Kubernetes.
  • Simple identity and access management.
  • Compliance with data privacy regulations such as HIPAA and PCI DSS.
  • Integration with Google Cloud Platform tools for logging and monitoring.

Google Kubernetes Engine has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on G2. One reviewer writes that GKE “has a great UI and intuitive integration with the Kubernetes dashboard. Furthermore, adding users to clusters is definitely a lot easier than the AWS solution.” However, the reviewer also mentions that Google’s support is lacking when compared with AWS. Other complaints include a higher learning curve, challenges setting up persistent storage, and even potential security issues.

5. Apache Mesos

Apache Mesos is an open-source cluster management tool that can be used to deploy, manage, and scale Docker images. Initially developed as a research project at UC Berkeley, Apache Mesos is now used by major tech companies from Airbnb and Netflix to Cisco and PayPal.

Mesos ensures that different applications and containers have access to the resources they need to run within a cluster, including CPU, memory, and storage. Frameworks and projects such as Hadoop, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, and Memcached are all compatible with Apache Mesos. Because Mesos is part of the Apache open-source software ecosystem, it integrates well with other Apache tools such as Spark, a large-scale data processing engine.

The Apache Mesos software currently has 4.2 out of 5 stars on G2. Users generally praise Mesos’ efficiency and effectiveness, in particular the ease of use it offers by abstracting away the complicated IT details. However, some users mention that Mesos suffers from strange design choices and configuration options, insufficient documentation, and bugs such as memory leaks.

6. Portainer

Like Apache Mesos, Portainer is an open-source container management software tool. Portainer bills itself as “a lightweight management UI that allows you to easily manage your different Docker environments,” and is compatible with both Docker Swarm clusters and Kubernetes.

The top features of Portainer include:

  • Authentication: Portainer has three different ways to perform user authentication: internal methods, LDAP, or OAuth.
  • Templates: Users can deploy Docker Swarm services and Docker containers using predefined templates, dramatically simplifying the process.
  • Web interface: Portainer has a simple web interface that allows developers to directly inspect containers and check their logs, rather than going through a complex multi-step connection process.

Portainer currently has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on G2. PHP developer Khaled A. writes: “I’m very satisfied with the interface and how it’s easy to use! It’s very straightforward, easy to understand, and also easy to install.” However, multiple reviewers complain that the tool is challenging to use in clustered mode for new users. Other issues include bugs while using the software, as well as a subscription-based pricing model for software plugins rather than a lifetime purchase.

7. Rancher

Last but not least, Rancher is an open-source container managment tool that serves as “a complete software stack for teams managing containers.” Using Rancher, you can deploy, manage, and scale containers and Kubernetes clusters on bare-metal servers, as well as public and private clouds.

The features of Rancher include:

  • A simple UI that centralizes and simplifies the process of deploying, securing, maintaining, and upgrading Kubernetes clusters.
  • Best practices for security and compliance, including encryption, audit logging, and rate limiting.
  • Support for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
  • Support for DevOps tools such as Jenkins, Gitlab, and Travis.

Rancher has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on G2, where users give it above-average marks for ease of use but below-average marks for ease of setup. One reviewer writes that “Rancher was easy to get set up, reliable, and made container orchestration a breeze.” Still, the tool isn’t without its flaws: some users say that they had problems with bugs and performance issues, while others complain about missing features that the software could benefit from.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve gone over 7 of the top container management software. So which of these container management tools is best for your situation? Here are our thoughts:

  • IronWorker: Best if you need a flexible, user-friendly tool that can run in multiple environments: public cloud, hybrid, dedicated, and on-premises.
  • Amazon ECS: Best if you want to leverage the rest of the Amazon Web Services ecosystem.
  • AWS Fargate: Best if you’re specifically looking for a serverless container management solution within AWS.
  • Google Kubernetes Engine: Best if you want to work with Google Cloud Platform.
  • Apache Mesos: Best if you want a robust open-source container management tool, or one that integrates well with the Apache ecosystem.
  • Portainer: Best if you need an open-source tool that’s compatible with both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes.
  • Rancher: Best if you want an end-to-end container management solution for Kubernetes clusters.

Want to enjoy container management software that’s cloud-native, easy to use, and built to scale for your high-performance needs? Give IronWorker a try.

Get in touch with our team today for a chat about your business goals and requirements, and start your free 14-day trial of the IronWorker platform.