Docker vs Openshift – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Docker vs Openshift – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). In the world of container based virtualization, Openshift and Docker are often misunderstood for the same solution. But they both play unique roles in the creation and development of different apps. 

Although these two software’s seem similar, they actually differ from each other in the roles they play when it comes to container visualization. If wonder how to differentiate both of them, you came to the right place. You don’t need to worry as this article will explain everything in detail.

Let’s start on Docker vs Openshift – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons).

What is Docker?

Docker is actually a well known platform that is usually used to run and develop certain applications. It is a container engine that is used to run or package applications in a container. Furthermore, these containers allow you to deploy self contained applications that run on the cloud

Features of Docker

Application Isolation

Well the Docker provides containers which you can use to run applications or programs in an isolated environment. Each container is independent, allowing Docker to execute any type of program or application.


Swarm is a self organizing collection of engines that can enable pluggable backends. It is also a scheduling and clustering tool for Docker containers. In addition, it uses the Docker API at the front end, allowing you to control it with various tools.

Quick and Easy Configuration

This is one of the most important features of Docker that allows you to set up the system in the fastest and easiest way possible. Because of this feature, you can deploy codes with minimal efforts and in less time.

Security Management

Moreover the Docker specializes in maintaining confidentiality in the swarm. It keeps secrets in the swarm and chooses which secrets to allow access to. It also oversees some important engine commands such as secret Is, secret create, secret rm, and secret inspect.

Pros of Docker


One of the best things Docker has to offer is the top security it has in place for your applications. The management of the different applications on Docker is easy because of how the apps are isolated from each other in the container.

Automation Choices

When you’re working as a developer, there are lots of tasks that are always monotonous and repetitive. These kinds of tasks can bore you so much but Docker gives you the chance to escape these manual and repetitive tasks.

You can actually schedule different tasks to be carried out at different periods of time with the Docker container. Using this feature helps us to save a lot of time and prevents us from wasting a lot of energy trying to set things up manually.

It Provides Stability

When using Docker on mac, it is well known that the app usually auto updates. In the past, these updates usually caused a lot of issues like losing some of your work. As of now, Docker it is stable enough that you will not lose any development you had made even when it auto updates. 

Cons of Docker

Quick Advancement

Docker is continuously being updated and a lot of new features are always introduced. It is advancing at a really fast pace and as a result, it is difficult to keep up with the latest updates.

Although it is a good thing that Docker is continuously improving its features and adding new updates, it sometimes develops faster than any associated documents you might have created on it. This would mean that you have to search for new information on what you have to do to advance your documents.

Tricky to Learn

As a developer, switching to Docker is not that easy because of the amount of things you will need to learn. In addition, learning most of the concepts is usually time consuming. The various concepts found in the software are actually different from what you would find in the virtual Machine infrastructure. This can prove to be a bit tricky for some developers. 

Now with Docker vs Openshift – What’s the Difference? it is time to introduce Openshift.

What is Openshift?

Openshift is a container app platform that is multifaceted and used to develop and construct applications. It is owned by redhat. It has a lot to offer which includes features like automated installation, lifecycle management and different updates. 

Features of Openshift


OpenShift emphasizes the importance of implementing end to end CI/CD pipelines very well. As a result, it offers developers open source tooling that allows them to code, test and deploy their programs into production.

Cost Management

Developers can use the customer portal in Openshift to track and gain insights about cost trends. The platform also enables engineers to map costs to projects, applications, clusters, cost centers and other resource types.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture

Also Openshift is mostly associated with on premises and non cloud environments. However, it can also transition to public cloud and handle workloads on a hybrid cloud architecture. Users can also deploy and operate in Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) public clouds.

Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces

This Openshift feature includes all the codes and dependencies used to code, build, test, run and debug the containerized applications in a web based integrated development environment (IDE). It also ensures advanced protection, consistency and collaboration of the containerized applications.

Pros of Openshift


With Openshift, the management and deployment of infrastructure (usually hybrid) is very easy. As a result, running self or fully managed services on the software is pretty straightforward and flexible.

Optimal Experience

If you are planning on using Openshift, there are lots of features made available for you as a developer. The command line, developing tools and even Multi Language support are also made available to you. With these tools, you will undoubtedly enjoy optimal user experience.


One of the core advantages of Openshift is the top notch security. It has an in built scanner to help give only authorized access to controls, networks and the registry. It also detects any suspicious activities and prevents any further break in.

Ideal Management of Container Image

On Openshift, there is a particular feature named imagstream which can be used to upload images (container images) and manage them perfectly without having to go through the registry. Consequently, this saves you a lot of time and effort.

Cons of Openshift

Installation Process is Limited

The installation and running process of Openshift is very limited since you can only install them through a few distributions which include Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CoreOS.

Cluster Logs

On Openshift, cluster logs are difficult to understand as a newbie. Because of this, it becomes really hard to try and manage them because of the limited idea on what you are supposed to do.

So what are the differences with Docker vs Openshift?

What is the Difference between Docker and Openshift?

The main difference between the two software is that a Docker is a container engine while Openshift is composed of clusters of container engines. Still, there are other unique differences between them. Let’s take a look at them.



Docker uses runtime containers to deploy projects. It also uses kernel isolation features to keep tenant processes separate in runtime containers. It uses LXC to achieve this.


Openshift uses runtime containers, web interfaces, REST API, and coordination to operate individual containers. It also keeps tenant processes separate in runtime containers; however, it uses MCS (Multiple Category Security) and SELinux to achieve this.

Third Parties


Docker allows users to extend the capabilities of a container orchestration tool. It is compatible with several tools such as  MongoDB, Bitbucket, Nginx, CircleCI, Gitlab, Redis, Visual Studio Code, and JFrog.


OpenShift supports third party integrations such as monitoring, diagnostic tools, log analysis, deployment and storage and infrastructure services. You can install these integrations on your cluster using the Openshift catalogue or Red Hat Marketplace.



Importantly Docker has built in features that help reduce the attack surface. Some of these features include control groups and kernel namespaces. The software also allows users to operate hardening systems like SELinux and grsecurity as an extra layer of security.


One of Openshift’s security features includes root based access control (RBAC). This feature allows users to determine and manage access to certain parts of processes. Additionally, by enforcing security policies, Openshift restricts root access to running container images.

Infrastructure Support


With Docker, different applications can be stored and packaged as lightweight container images. These images can run on a wide range of environments like Google GKE, Amazon Elastic, Azure Container Instances (ACI) and many more.

One special thing about Docker is the few configurations it takes to get hosted on bare metals. Although the downside to this is that the program can only run on a few custom servers and mainframes.


There is a wide range of deployment environments on Openshift. Moreover, native routes are already configured, which helps direct the public traffic in containers. Some of these include Fedora, CentOS, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

However, the downside here is that the deployment possibilities for several businesses are always limited since Openshift doesn’t have the function to host on bare metals.

Setup and Installation


Docker has two options available for the installation process. Firstly, you can download the Docker desktop application on your mac or windows. After installing the application, you can launch it and follow the on screen instructions to set up.

Secondly, you can use Docker hub. This is a service that is based on cloud collaboration where you can share container images with your team. All you have to do is create an account to start.


Installing Openshift is a more complicated process and would need certain distributions to be installed. For instance, to install Openshift 4, you will need to use Red Hat CoreOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For Openshift 3, you will need to use Red Hat Atomic.

CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Delivery)


When using Docker, the CI/CD function is not available. Therefore, the best thing to do is to use third party tools that specialize in CI to create a pipeline for CI/CD.


The continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) is an in built function you can find on OpenShift. One thing to note is that it is not a full solution and you will need third party apps to build a pipeline.

Well that is it. We have reached the end of the article Docker vs Openshift – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). How did you find it? 

Docker vs Openshift - What's the Difference ? (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

While Docker and Openshift might seem similar to each other they are quite different. Like we said before, one of the main differences is that Docker is a container engine while Openshift can be a cluster of several container engines.

Both software are also different in other ways like their structure and installation programs. They both have their pros and cons, this is what truly makes them unique and it sets them apart in many ways.

Find out more of our Docker content here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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