Jenkins vs Docker – What’s the Difference ? (Comparison)

Automation has served as a key factor in improving the efficiency of software engineers around the globe. Software engineering pipeline comprises different processes such as unit tests, running build, etc. that must be performed each time code is pushed to the codebase. Performing these processes manually will take the developer’s time. Performing them every time can be tedious for a person hence automation software such as Jenkins and Docker were introduced to automate the process.  In this article we will explain Jenkins vs Docker, What’s the difference between Jenkins and Docker as we compare both tools.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is an open source automation server that provides a variety of plugins to automate processes like building, testing, and deploying on a project. Jenkins was initially released on February 2nd, 2011, back then, it was called Hudson and was later renamed.

Jenkins vs Docker

Since its release, Jenkins has kept growing in popularity as it is now used industry-wide for setting up automation servers. Some of the key features of Jenkins are following:


Jenkins supports software’s complete development life cycle from building, testing, documenting the software, deploying, and other stages of the software development life cycle. Jenkins server lies at the core of the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment pipeline. Automating such a process is necessary as every time a developer commits any changes to the project, a build should be triggered. Once the build has been completed, the build should pass the unit tests for the commits to be accepted, and then the new build will be deployed.

Jenkins CI CD

Automating the CI/CD will help reduce the time consumption and reduce the risk of software malfunction while entering the production stage. This allows the developer to make rapid changes to the code based on customer feedback while also maintaining the quality of the code. Jenkins also notifies the team if the build fails and the tests that failed, significantly reducing the time required for debugging and fixing the errors.

Easy Installation and Configuration

Jenkins is a Java-based program and comes in ready-to-run packages for Windows, Mac OS, and Unix-based operating systems. Jenkins requires only 256 MB of RAM and 1 GB of space on the hard drive; hence can use any old system for this purpose. Jenkins requires the latest version of Java Development Kit (JDK) or Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed.

Jenkins provides a web interface to control and configure the automation server, and the administrator can view all logs. In addition, Jenkins provides configuration as a code option that can define the whole configuration as a simple, human-friendly, plain text YAML syntax. This has made setting up a new Jenkins server controller a no-brainer event as Jenkins itself, and many of the available plugins require a configuration file.


Jenkins can automate a wide variety of tasks due to the availability of a vast collection of plugins to choose from. An extensive collection of plugins allows the users to integrate the automation server with many different applications such as git, Azure, etc. In addition, the server’s functionality can be extended using the plugin architecture, providing nearly endless possibilities for what it can be utilized for.

Free Open Source

Jenkins is a free open source software having outstanding community support. Jenkins provides many community platforms where developers can chat with other developers and discuss their issues while using the software. Having such a vast open source community allows Jenkins to support many plugins on its store as these are continuously maintained by the open-source contributors outside the Jenkins core team. Jenkins also hosts many community meetup events to maintain a large and helpful open source community.

Every 12 weeks, Jenkins releases a long-term support stable build for its end users, which is only possible by having a large community of backers behind the project.

What is Docker?

Docker takes away repetitive, mundane configuration tasks throughout the development lifecycle for fast, easy, and portable application development – desktop and cloud. Docker’s comprehensive end-to-end platform includes UIs, CLIs, APIs, and security engineered to work together across the entire application delivery lifecycle.

Docker vs Jenkins

Docker Inc. was founded during the Y Combinator Summer 2010 startup incubator group, and Docker software was initially released in 2013. Some of the key features of Docker are following:


Docker can package an application and its dependencies in a virtual container that can run on any Linux, Windows, or macOS computer. This enables the application to run in various locations, such as on-premises, in a public cloud, or a private cloud. When running on Linux, Docker uses the resource isolation features of the Linux kernel to allow containers to run within a single Linux instance, avoiding the overhead of starting and maintaining virtual machines. Docker on macOS uses a Linux virtual machine to run the containers.

Docker containers are lightweight, allowing a single server or virtual machine to host several containers simultaneously. A typical Docker runs eight containers per host. Docker implements a high-level API to provide lightweight containers that run processes in isolation. In addition, Docker containers are standard processes, so it is possible to use kernel features to monitor their execution.

Easy Configuration

Docker swarm service configs allow you to store non-sensitive information, such as configuration files, outside a service’s image or running containers. This will enable you to keep your images as generic as possible, without the need to bind-mount configuration files into the containers or use environment variables. It operates similarly to secrets, except that they are not encrypted at rest and are mounted directly into the container’s filesystem without the use of RAM disks.

Access to config files can be granted or revoked from a service at any time, allowing the swarm manager to control the functionality of each system in the swarm.

Security Management

There are features built inside the Docker application to secure the data on the server. Having a large user base has resulted in many online resources that walk through the best practices used these days to secure Docker images. Config files also provide granular control over the systems running inside a swarm. Aqua is one of the available cloud security tools that are used for the security of Docker containers.

Aqua is serverless security software that protects the Docker applications at runtime, ensuring container immutability and prohibiting changes to running containers, isolating the container from the host via custom machine-learned SECCOMP profiles. It also ensures the least privileges for files, executables, and OS resources using a machine-learned behavioral profile and manages network connections with a container firewall.

Rapid Scaling

Docker also allows scaling the server based on the usage, and if the load on the server is increased, more systems can be added to the swarm without setting up the whole system again. This allows scaling the resources allocated to a swarm on the go based on the load. Kubernetes is an open-source tool developed by Google for this purpose. It is a container orchestration system for automating computer application deployment, scaling, and management.

Scaling Docker Containers

Jenkins vs Docker - Comparison Final Thoughts

While Docker and Jenkins both exist to automate the software delivery pipeline, both serve very different functionality. Jenkins is there to provide an easy interface to automate and manage multiple CI/CD pipelines, which help to improve the code quality and ensure faster delivery. Docker is used for building and managing numerous portable environments of the preferred software stack. In most organizations, Jenkins and Docker are used alongside each other to provide better management and control over the available resources and perform recurring tasks that don’t require much human interaction or supervision.

Avatar for Emad Bin Abid
Emad Bin Abid

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.

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