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

Docker vs VMware – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Docker is an open platform for building, delivering and running applications. The tool allows you to separate application from your infrastructure so you can deliver software quickly. On the other hand VMware virtualization software creates an abstraction layer on your computer’s hardware that allows you to partition your computer’s hardware components (CPU, memory, storage, etc.) on your virtual machine (VM).

In this article, I will explain what Docker and VMware is. Then I will present the benefits of both platforms. At the end you will  the difference between both tools. Let’s start Docker vs VMware – What’s the Difference ?

What is a Docker?

Docker is a publicly available platform for building, delivering and running applications. Thanks to Docker you can separate your application from your infrastructure to deliver software quickly.  In addition Docker can coordinate your infrastructure in the same way as you manage your applications. Moreover with Docker methodology you can quickly deliver, test and deploy your code. That significantly reduces the delay between writing code and running it in production.

The main container engine that skilfully uses Linux kernel features such as namespaces and control groups to create containers on top of the operating system. So it can be called virtualization at the operating system level.

How does Docker work?

The official high level Docker diagram above shows a typical Docker workflow.

Docker Components

  1.  Client.
  2. Docker Daemon (dockerd).
  3. Registries.
  4.  Images.
  5.  Containers.

Docker Features


Security Management

  • Secrets are saved in a swarm site that give services access to certain secrets, including some important commands for the engine. 

Increases productivity

  • Productivity is increased by facilitating technical configuration and rapid application deployment. It not only provides an isolated environment for running applications, but also reduces resources.

Faster and Easier configuration

  • This one is key benefit of Docker. With this feature, the code can be executed in less time and with less effort. The infrastructure is not tied to the application environment because Docker is used with many types of environments.

Application isolation

  • Containers are provided by Docker and used to run applications in a separated environment. Since each container is independent, Docker can execute any kind of application.

Better Software Delivery

  • Provide software that uses for better efficiency. The containers are portable, self contained and contain disk volume. This separate volume is extended with the container and deployed to different environments.

Benefits of Docker


  • Virtual machines are an alternative to containers. But containers do not contain operating systems unlike virtual machines. That means that containers take up much less space than virtual machines and their creation is faster.


  • The Containers can be created quickly and efficiently if their demand is required for your applications. If we use multiple containers, we can use a number of container management options.


  • Once you’ve tested your app in a container, you can deploy it to any other Docker system and you can rest assured that your app will perform exactly as it did before testing.


  • If other Docker containers have applications that require different versions of the same software to support this, this should not be a problem. Different Docker containers are completely independent of each other.
  • Another benefit is that as you go through the different stages of the development cycle, you can be absolutely sure that the image you create whist developing will behave exactly as it passed during the test. 

Pros of using Docker

  • Eases the pain of debugging environments.
  • Speeds up the provisioning process.
  • The Docker community is huge and resources are abundant.
  • For Mac and Windows users the platform is more stable than ever.
  • Gives you consistency across your team.

Cons of using Docker

  • There can be a significant learning curve to migrate to Docker.
  • It could have performance issues in non native environments.
  • Has some gaps in documentation.

Let’s move next to VMware of our article Docker vs VMware comparison.

What is a VMware?

VMware creates virtualization software.

What does Virtualization software do? It creates an abstraction layer on your computer’s hardware that allows you to partition your computer’s hardware components (CPU, memory, storage, etc.) called a virtual machine (VM). Each virtual machine has its own operating system (OS) and runs as an independent computer, even though it runs on parts of the actual computer hardware.

How does VMware work?

Having multiple virtual machines on one device allows you to run multiple applications and operating systems on a single physical server. The virtual machines are separated from the server by a software layer called a hypervisor that allocates resources to the virtual machines.

The use of VMware technology allows creation and maintenance of this type of virtual environment for companies. As a result, virtualizing VMware servers can enable an enterprise to maximize server resources and minimize the amount of hardware required to perform key operations. This unifies servers, overall improving productivity and minimizes costs.

Virtualization Tpes

What are Benefits and Features of VMware?

Features of VMware

Enhanced Security

  • These security features include user permissions and authorization management settings, virtual machine encryption, vSphere in addition it offers trust management in virtual environments and support for multiple identity providers for businesses.

It is Flexible

  • You can manage your storage SLAs for individual applications using your existing storage policy provided by VMware.

Dedicated High Performance Networking

  • VMware Cloud on AWS provides separate, dedicated, high performance networks for application traffic and management. 

Bare Metal Cloud Infrastructure

  • With the help of VMware Cloud on AWS for example it provides a highly scalable VMware SDDC software stack.

How does VMware Benefit the Organisation

Improves efficiency

  • Increases efficiency by enabling businesses to better manage resources. The virtualization component helps to spread the load over many different servers that are not in use.

Provides Safety

  • Compared to regular computer operating systems, using VMware is much more secure. If you encounter any problems or issues, you can simply remove them and install another virtual machine without affecting your computer’s traffic.

Reduces costs

  • Remember that VMware significantly lowers IT costs in the enterprise thanks to virtualization features.

Pros of VMware

  • An Ultimate Feature Set.
  • No External OS Is Required For Management Components.
  • Solid Vendor Support.
  • Easily Control Layer Components Without Security Patches.
  • Holds expenses under control.
  • Has a higher uptime.
  • Allows for quicker resource deployment.

Cons of VMware

  • Some complex devices can slow down Initialization Time.
  • Quite Tricky To Learn in the beginning.
  • Worth mentioning it introduces a security risk.
  • Causes a problem with availability.

What are Differences between Docker vs VMware?

Main Differences in VMware

  • With VMWare the virtual machine tools are more accessible and easier to use. On the other hand Docker has a more sophisticated tooling ecosystem that includes both Docker managed and third-party tools.
  • VMware is like a machine hardware whereas Docker is the operating system in which your application runs. Firstly with VMware it is like an  actual machine hardware and install operating systems and other tasks where the full server is required. 

Differences in Docker

  • On the other hand Docker is a much more lightweight virtualization technology. It does not emulate server hardware resources. Focus on abstracting the environment there is no physical server. 
  • Also Docker is very fast. While a virtual machine can only take a few minutes to be ready to compile, running a Docker container from a container image takes anywhere from milliseconds to (up to) seconds.
  • Interestingly the containers can be shared with multiple team members, providing portability during your development. This reduces the number of “run on my computer” errors plaguing DevOps teams.
  •  Worth remembering that Docker containers are isolated processes and do not require a hardware hypervisor. This means that Docker containers are much smaller and require significantly less resources than a virtual machine

Security of VMware

  • The VMware have kernels and security features. As a result, applications that require greater privileges and security will run on the virtual machine.

Security of a Docker

  • On contrary the root access to applications and running them with an admin service is not recommended for Docker containers. That is because the containers share the host kernel. Container technology has access to the kernel subsystems. So a single infected application can attack the entire host system.

Portability of VMware

  • The isolation of Virtual machines from their operating systems means they cannot be migrated to multiple platforms without causing compatibility issues. At the development level, if your application needs to be cross platform tested, you should consider Docker containers.

Portabilityof Docker

  • In addition Docker containers are easy to deploy to servers as lightweight containers can be started and stopped in a very short time compared to virtual machines.

Performance of VMware

  • But Virtual machines require more resources than Docker containers because the virtual machine must load the entire operating system to boot.

Performance of Docker

  • The lightweight structure of Docker containers requires fewer resources than virtual machines. In addition the  containers provide agility and reliability for microservices.

Thank you for reading until the end this blog article Docker vs VMware – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).  It is time to conclude.

Docker vs VMware – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

There are important differences between VMware and Docker and it really depends on their uses. Users should now have a basic understanding of the fundamental nature and capabilities of each platform and the factors that can improve each platform in a given situation.

Firstly for migration of application from on premises hosting and moving the application to containers then VMware virtual machines are better. Use VMWare if your application should have own user space and storage. 

But on the other hand for distributed architecture with each application can run as a microservice Docker is much better fit. So thar each application runs in its own container. 

Secondly Docker shows great power in situations such as development teams or fast iterations of fully functional DevOps environments. So then containers can be extremely valuable.

Lastly if security and stability are key to your production environment then VMware offers both.  But for Docker and VMware containers, there are many products available to extend their functionality through automation, orchestration, and other features. So why don’t you consider them both? 

Read more of our content about Docker here  and VMware here.

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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