The Container Orchestration Dating Show: How to Choose the Best Orchestrator for You

Tyler Au
6 min
February 14th, 2023
Tyler Au
6 min
February 14th, 2023

The Pros and Cons of Each Container Orchestration System

Picture this: you’re on a dating show. 

Think of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette; potential significant others are trying to make the best impression towards you and get that final rose, falling in love in the process.

But this isn’t about finding the perfect someone to spend the rest of your life with, this is about finding the perfect container orchestrator to spend the rest of your money and time on.

Choosing a container orchestration service is much like a dating show; you meet someone, learn about them a bit more, and fall in love with them (and their automation capabilities that boost your development and deployment processes tenfold).

For many, Kubernetes has become the go-to option, with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) reporting that in 2021, 96% of organizations were either using Kubernetes or evaluating it. Containers in general weren’t completely out of the limelight, with 93% of organizations either using or evaluating containers in their production cycles.

Love is in the air this month, and it’s the perfect time to fall in love with a container orchestration service. Here are some of the contestants on the The Container Orchestration Dating Show:

Docker - The “Long Walks on the Beach at Sunset” Enthusiast

Docker is a software platform focused on simplifying and expediting developer workflows through the use of containers. Within each container is the user’s software and all its dependencies, allowing an occasionally clunky piece of software to become flexible and agile that’s capable of being run on any infrastructure.

Developed in 2013, this open source platform is a favorite amongst developers because of its hyper flexibility. Docker prides itself on their open source backgrounds, giving developers the ability to use any tools at their disposal, any application stack they’re most comfortable with, and any deployment environment they frequent. This freedom given to developers also translates to the containers managed within Docker; developers can enjoy program isolation for easy isolated debugging and maintenance instead of having to work on the application as a whole. Because of this program isolation, Docker ensures that applications and their respective containers are secured and separated from other containers.

Docker’s strengths also lie in their workflow simplification and acceleration. Getting your application out to the people is streamlined with Docker, as their containerization process completely bypasses the need for an OS boot, pushing their deployment to completion in seconds. On the topic of CI/CD, Docker is able to integrate management tools that work in conjunction with each other, making the development process seamless and saving countless hours for developers.

Long walks on the beach are nice; Docker enjoys these long walks, but not really some of these features. For one, Docker requires an external monitoring to quality monitoring. The same methodology to a better functioning feature applies to Docker’s storage capabilities; to better house valuable storage, an external platform or Docker add-on should be a serious consideration. Utilizing Docker and the different pieces within their ecosystem congruently are also notoriously complex, often requiring extra security and infrastructure buffs to bolster those two aspects.

Rancher - Is 6’11 and Enjoys Cooking

Meet Rancher: Rancher is an open source container orchestration program that is capable of deploying and managing new and old Kubernetes clusters. 

Like the chef that it is, Rancher is capable of bringing different ingredients and creating a masterful dish, which in this case is the powerful single interface. Rancher offers users various incentives like cluster provisioning, health monitoring, and security management - which are normally scattered across different platforms - all within a single, convenient experience. The cluster-centric attitude of Rancher starts there, too. To best service users and their clusters, Rancher is capable of creating new clusters and adding to existing ones, allows users to switch clusters, and even generates data graphs for cluster metric visualization on request.

Where Rancher shines the most is managing clusters on an immense scale and within the parameters of a team. To start, advanced traffic distribution and DNS service discovery allows clusters and containers to become self-sufficient, removing the unneeded attention to infrastructure maintenance. Teams enjoy Rancher because of its easy-to-use interface that promotes collaboration by letting users assign themselves to certain projects and making user management simple. 

Like Docker vs Kubernetes, Rancher is more so an attachment to your traditional Kubernetes stack. One of Rancher’s biggest limitations, however, is their cluster compatibility. At the moment of writing, Rancher can only support Kubernetes clusters running on Ubuntu, CentOS, Oracle Linux, SLES, and RedHat Enterprise Linux. Windows and macOS users will have a hard, almost impossible time using Rancher. Many Rancher users have also complained about the expert support aspect of Rancher, saying that the service prioritizes the “ease of use” aspect of Kubernetes and the dishing out a diluted support option. Reddit user redtuxter calls Rancher the “Fischer price” of Kubernetes based on the support alone.

OpenShift - Looking for someone to spend their life with

OpenShift is Redhat’s entry into the container orchestration world. This Kubernetes platform offers the development, deployment, and management of clusters and applications in a neatly wrapped package.

With the attachment of the Redhat name, OpenShift is known to be one of the most secure container orchestration systems in the game, without sacrificing its primary function. Under a single platform, Redhat hosts development, management, and security operations, with built-in pipelines streamlining development and deployment. OpenShift is also particularly known to work well with AI/ML workflows and in delivering AI-powered applications.

Some benefits of OpenShift include the dedicated Redhat support system, the ability to run cloud-native microservices at scale, and its extreme flexibility. OpenShift offers extremely convenient security updates, allowing entire clusters to receive patches within a single button push.

OpenShift knows exactly what they want in a partner, which could be a good or bad thing for you. For one, OpenShift is notoriously expensive. Compared to the other orchestration systems detailed throughout this blog, OpenShift’s support is only Redhat support, leaving much of the open source advantages out. OpenShift isn’t the most flexible, with only certain OS being able to run in OpenShift. Lastly, OpenShift is seen by many as a tool for Kubernetes pros (or at least those versed in the Kubernetes space), whereas many of the other platforms are beginner friendly and can be simplified even further through managed Kubernetes.

If you’re looking for something exclusive, OpenShift is for you.

Kubernetes - Everything you wanted in a partner… and more

Prime time television has conditioned us to wait weeks on end just to reveal the final contestant on a dating show, the one that wins a lifetime with the protagonist. In The Container Orchestration Dating Show, we aim to do so in roughly 4-5 minutes (depending on your reading speed).

That being said, the perfect partner to navigate this confusing container orchestrated world with (or at least we’d like to hope so) is Kubernetes! 

The base model for many of the aforementioned container orchestration systems, Kubernetes (or K8s) is an open-source container orchestration system that focuses primarily on automating a software’s deployment, scaling, and management, while making software development extremely quick.

But why is Kubernetes so valuable in this space?

For one, Kubernetes has a buffet of automated capabilities. Like the Swiss-army knife, Kubernetes hosts a plethora of automated features to significantly push your development and deployment to the next level, including automated scaling, automated deployment, and automatic load balancing- just to name a few. The clusters hosted within Kubernetes itself are extremely self-sufficient too, capable of administering self-healing, health monitoring, and update rollback and rollouts to themselves based on your application and its current needs.

According to Datadog, Kubernetes is the most popular container management system, with its wide adoption being due in large part to its huge open-source support and extremely successful track record. Now than ever, more and more of your favorite companies are making the switch to container management, especially to Kubernetes.

The biggest drawback of Kubernetes is its complexity. Operating within Kubernetes is a herculean feat, with many Kubernetes engineers earning around $156,000 a year just to deal with the often convoluted platform. Kubernetes can be the perfect partner for many, but if implemented incorrectly, can be a pain in the a** due to the time and resource sink alone. And before you click off and determine that Kubernetes isn’t for you, there’s a solution that simplifies Kubernetes tenfold, without sacrificing its performance and benefits.

Sometimes, the best relationships and happiest couples need a good support system. And Lyrid Managed Kubernetes can be that good support system for you. By working with us, you’ll be able to have your service running on Kubernetes, receiving some benefits like:

You’re able to remove the complexity and headaches of traditional Kubernetes, while receiving an easier time in managing a powerful system with Lyrid Managed Kubernetes. At the end of the day, Kubernetes is the winner of The Container Orchestration Dating Show.

Break up with your current container orchestration, and swipe right on Lyrid Managed Kubernetes!

Schedule a demo

Let's discuss your project

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Join Our Newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

99 South Almaden Blvd. Suite 600
San Jose, CA

Jl. Pluit Indah 168B-G, Pluit Penjaringan,
Jakarta Utara, DKI Jakarta