Being one of the most popular container orchestration platforms, Kubernetes has now become the industry standard for deploying containers. However, it is not the only efficient orchestration platform in the industry and its alternatives enjoy a considerable amount of market share as well. They typically come under DevOps infrastructure management tools that are also referred to as container orchestration engines. They help businesses with an abstraction layer in the middle of application containers that run on common resources.
Trying out various Kubernetes alternatives will help organizations to explore new features that can make the container orchestration process more efficient. In this article, we will explore the most popular and powerful Kubernetes alternatives out there. But before that, let’s first understand container orchestration in detail.
What is Container Orchestration?
Container orchestration platforms efficiently deploy, manage, scale, and network various containers working in a single environment. They automate most of the manual and operational efforts for running containers and services such as container lifecycle management that include processes like provisioning, deploying, scaling, networking, and load balancing.
Moreover, container orchestration also aids organizations to run multiple parts of an app independently on the same hardware with flexible management of their life cycles. In simple words, container orchestration is majorly about managing the lifecycle of containers in huge and dynamic environments. Container orchestration platforms are capable of:
- Deploying containers automatically and managing the availability of containers.
- Appropriately scaling containers and managing their loads by spreading them evenly across the host infrastructure.
- Quickly shifting containers from one host to another in case of shortage of resources or on the host dies.
- Distributing resources among the containers as per the need and running service discovery between containers.
- Simultaneous health check-ups of the containers to check faults and configure applications and containers running together.
10 Top Alternatives of Kubernetes
1. Docker Swarm
Docker Swarm is open-source and was originally released by Docker itself. Therefore, software or services that are compatible with Docker containers also run efficiently with Swarm as well. In addition, they both also use the same command line. Quite similar to Kubernetes, its clusters are also composed of the Docker Engine available on various nodes and the leader node takes care of the processes and management.
It is a good choice for individuals who are new to the world of containerization. You can use it to get comfortable with the management of orchestrated environments.
Its competitive advantage over Kubernetes is that it is simple to use and you can set it up easily on various operating systems. Moreover, it utilizes Docker CLI to run the services, and therefore, users just have to work with a single set of tools.
- Communication among various devices and nodes is backed with end-to-end security to ensure the complete safety of the information.
- The process of getting started and working with Swarm is extremely simple and suitable for beginners.
- It comes with an auto-balancing feature to manage overloads and underloads to ensure the smooth functioning of the system.
- The efficient load-balancing feature results in improved scalability and a faster deployment process.
- To revert a task to its previous states, you can implement rollbacks easily.
2. OpenShift Container Platform
OpenShift allows users to enjoy an enterprise-level environment that is tailored with all the tools and services required for creating, editing, deploying, and managing containerized applications. It allows the functioning of stateful and stateless applications without the need for redesigning them. Moreover, it utilizes the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system resulting in a stable and secure base for the apps. OpenShift comes in the following three variants and all of them are managed by Red Hat:
- OpenShift Online: It is a multi-tenant cloud-based container platform.
- OpenShift Dedicated: It is a single-tenant cloud-based container platform.
- OpenShift Container Platform: It is a container platform that gives complete flexibility to users by allowing them to deploy and manage containers by themselves within the infrastructure of their choice.
OpenShift works as an epicenter to all the architectures, processes, platforms, and services required for the development of apps in one place. In addition, it utilizes technologies, such as Docker, and its deployment can be done on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) as well.
- Users are liberated to automate the life-cycle management of all the processes for better security and better operation management.
- Users can have expert training sessions and consultancy with red hatters for real-time support.
- Users can run virtual machines inside OpenShift within special containers.
- Supports various languages and tools for developing and deploying applications via container images.
- Easy deployment, which is as simple as pushing a button.
- Achieve streamlined delivery by standardizing developer workflows and enabling simultaneous integration
3. Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)
It is a full-fledged container orchestration platform that offers next-level security, reliability, and scalability to container-based applications. Amazon ECS is the first-ever container runtime native of Amazon that is backed by Amazon ECR for better storage of container images. All of its production workloads are handled by Amazon AWS.
Over the years, it has experienced tremendous growth with tons of containers working on the platform regularly. It is also backed by Windows containers and is designed for having smooth compatibility with other Amazon platforms. Therefore, it is an efficient orchestration platform offering highly reliable solutions.
- Supports AWS Fargate for offering serverless functioning to containers and eliminates the need for provisioning and managing servers.
- Liberates users to focus more on building and scaling applications rather than wasting time on maintaining infrastructure.
- It is based and supported by robust technology developed by experienced professionals.
- Users can easily launch containers in Amazon VPC, thus users can also use VPC security and no resources will be shared with others.
- It gets easy for users to run clusters with better scalability as it allows the mixing of spot Instances with On-Demand Instances.
4. Azure Container Instances
Azure Container Instances (ACI) is available for both Linux and Windows-based containers. Using this platform will help businesses to put more effort and focus on constructing applications instead of focusing and maintaining the infrastructure on which they run. Users are liberated to deploy on the cloud with the help of a single command.
ACI helps businesses to attain better security for containers and associated workloads along with preserving the functioning of lightweight containers. It also comes with hypervisors that isolate every container group with each other and ensure that they run without any interruption
- Allows individuals to run containers without managing servers.
- Isolates applications from each other with the help of hypervisors.
- It lets users host containerized applications on Azure App Services as well.
- Businesses can run clusters simultaneously for 24 hours a day that is comparatively cheaper than running VMs 24/7
- Containers can be created with the help of a single-line PowerShell command and they will start running within minutes.
Nomad is a simple container orchestrator used for deploying and managing containerized and even non-containerized applications on various clouds. It comes with an easy-to-use interface. With Nomad, users will enjoy less downtime for deployments along with improved resilience and higher resource utilization.
It allows users to deploy applications globally with the help of a unified control plane that can be used for deploying on bare metal or cloud environments. In addition, it integrates well with other platforms for better management and thus, better results. It comes with scripts that are easy to edit and overlooks issues like unwanted gaps effectively.
- It is a lightweight and simple orchestrator that is best known for assigning and managing jobs to nodes.
- It is backed by a large community of experts and comes with easy implementation because it is a single binary.
- Being a single binary, it integrates with other systems conveniently and can be operated easily in the cloud with minimal effort.
- Orchestrates various types of applications and efficiently supports Docker, Windows, Java, Virtual Machines, etc.
- You can allow existing services to keep up with orchestration benefits like lesser downtime deployments, higher resource utilization, and more without containerization.
- Better scalability options that too with reduced complexity.
- Nomad integrates seamlessly with Terraform, Consul, and Vault for provisioning, networking, and secrets management.
It is an open-source platform used for the deploying, managing, scaling and real-time monitoring of container-based apps across various hosts on any cloud infrastructure. Majorly, it is used for running applications based on containers that are used as distributed microservices.
Kontena is a developer-friendly platform that manages Docker containers and simplifies the deployment and usage of applications in any environment. With the help of technologies such as Docker, Linux, and Weave Net, it serves as a 360-degree solution for companies irrespective of their sizes.
- It can work with multiple hosts and thousands of containers.
- Offers zero downtime to all the applications and keeps them running simultaneously with efficient load balancing.
- Automatically manages the services used for the efficient functioning of the containers.
- Comes with a private docker image repository and secret storage, which is known as Kontena Vault.
7. Apache Mesos
It is an open-source platform used for managing the workload within a distributed environment with the help of dynamic resource sharing. It efficiently manages the deployment and management of various apps, especially in the case of huge environments with tons of containers.
It brings together all the resources and machines/nodes of a cluster under a single roof through which various workloads are managed. Moreover, the node allocation feature eliminates the requirement of dedicated machines, and global giants such as Twitter and Airbnb rely on Apache Mesos for the same.
- Brings out all the resources into a single pool for simplifying the resource allocation process.
- Balances the workloads of a particular environment for improving the utilization of resources and lowering the overall costs.
- Offers fault-tolerant infrastructure for container-based applications that allows self-healing, scaling, and upgrading of apps efficiently.
8. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
GKE offers a robust infrastructure for efficiently managing the lifecycle of containerized applications with the help of various Google technologies. Its environment is composed of various machines grouped to create a cluster that offers a full-fledged Kubernetes service wrapped with advanced features such as the autopilot mode of operation.
Backed by Kubernetes itself, it comes with the most effective mechanisms through which you can communicate with clusters. Moreover, an individual can also make use of Kubectl and similar resources for the deployment and management of applications and also perform administration tasks along with running health check-ups.
- Start working instantly with huge scalability potential that can go up to 15000 nodes.
- Make the use of a flexible control plane that is composed of all the clusters.
- Remove operational efforts with advanced auto-scaling options and release channels.
- It comes with advanced security along with auto-detection of vulnerabilities in container images and data.
- Real-time cloud monitoring of infrastructure and containerized applications.
- Comes with a pre-configured workload setting that offers a nodeless experience
It is a Docker orchestration platform originally released by Spotify for the deployment and management of containers across various servers. It comes with an HTTP API along with a powerful command line for better interaction with servers associated with the containers. Moreover, it keeps all the data history of clusters, including crucial information about restarting and changing versions.
Helios can keep a lot of containers running in parallel across many servers and also avoids a single point of failure because it is efficient in handling multiple HTTP requests simultaneously.
- It is pragmatic and manages the catastrophes, like single-point failures or death of master node, quite efficiently
- It comes with impressive scalability options and managed workflow.
- Effectively fits into the DevOps cycle and enhances the production rate.
- Compatible with various topologies and operating systems.
- Helios allows various machines to run at the same time and doesn’t have any prescribed service discovery.
- JVM and Zookeeper are needed to run Helios
It is also an orchestration platform that takes a container from Docker registries and runs them on a particular host with proper host volume mapping and port mapping. Centurion rolls out the application deployment with a good frequency rate along with making it easy to transfer them to Docker servers. It works in a two-part deployment process that includes the building process and transferring containers to registries and then transferring them to the Docker fleet.
Its registry is supported by the command-line tool, which allows users to initiate requests instantly. It is mandatory to have a registry before using Centurion.
- Brings out all the application tasks and dependencies in one centralized place.
- Makes the frequent deployment process possible with better efficiency.
- Centurion is a lightweight, simple, and accessible orchestration platform.
- Develops applications that can be deployed on multi-cloud, public, private, or hybrid cloud.
- Comes with a simple and intuitive interface for allowing users to get all the components without getting perplexed.
To sum up, businesses who want to develop and design applications with higher availability and more fault-tolerant should make use of any one of the orchestration platforms mentioned above. For the optimization of resource utilization and faster processing, you need to make use of a container orchestration platform. The Kubernetes alternatives covered in this article are the best ones available right now. You can take a look at the benefits offered by each of them to choose a container orchestration platform that is ideal for your business.