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Could someone explain to me in plain English what is Docker and how is it better than VM?

Posted on 2014-10-29
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I have been hearing about this new product called Docker.  the website doesn't really explain what it does and people that has brought it up on conversation has said it's better than VM hypervisors. yet these same people couldn't explain it further than that statement.  i'm looking for a solution that is cheaper than VMs. so if Docker is a more cost-efficient replacement, I would like to know about it further before I bring it up in conversation with our management. Please help.
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Question by:b0nniedog
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by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 800 total points
ID: 40412049
Their site says "Consisting of Docker Engine, a portable, lightweight runtime and packaging tool,"

It does not sound like a real life virtual machine application like VMware Workstation or ESX.

It appears, as I read it, it is focused on applications and not whole machines.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 800 total points
ID: 40412055
It allows you to rapidly provision applications or workflows in the Cloud, it can run the same App unchanged on laptops, VMs (any) or any Cloud.

So it's a little different to a Hypervisor.

 It uses a Server and Server OS, and has a Docker Engine Layer, this layer contains the application.

So the application is "unlocked" from the Virtual or Physical server, and hence is more portable!

It's similar to Application streaming of applications, and there are many such providers offering this.
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by:b0nniedog
ID: 40412118
so is it like a repository for applications?  for example, if i have a new, user_b, that needs to have applications that user_a uses, I can just fire up a new workstations with all the applications in it?
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LVL 97

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by:Experienced Member
Experienced Member earned 800 total points
ID: 40412123
I can just fire up a new workstations with all the applications in it?

I am not certain about that from what I have read. I think you need a virtual machine application for your second question.   It is the "all" that I am not certain about.
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by:Uni Kitty
Uni Kitty earned 400 total points
ID: 40412224
Here's my take on LXC (Linux Containers) which is what Dockers is based on.

The reason why they can be perceived as better than using a hypervisor that runs virtual machines, is because with containers you remove the need for the  guest operating system to run an application. See how amazing that can be? Think about all the extra overhead you get with guest OSes, and remove that and imagine running  a system that can only serve up the applications that you need. I am over simplifying this so please forgive but you wanted the basics.

While LXC has been around a long time, this is now revolutionary in our new IT landscape, in particular virtualization and streamlining resources.

Recently Microstoft Azure announced support  for container images -->  CoreOS. This is going to be huge. Docker and containerization are an emerging disruptive technology for the large players like VMware & Microsoft. It's quite exciting to see who moves faster to embrace it and partner with this. Who wins? We do!!
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 800 total points
ID: 40412251
Yes, it would work like you have suggested.
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