Kubernetes VS Docker Swarm – What is the Difference?

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January 17, 2023

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Kubernetes VS Docker Swarm
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With the advent of technology, application development has been a major priority for businesses worldwide. Therefore, with the help of containerization methods businesses manage and deploy complex applications easily. In simpler words, containers are standardized methods to package apps and deploy them in multiple environments.

Kubernetes and Docker swarm are two major software to build apps and deploy them in multiple environments. Both these tools have advantages and disadvantages. In this guide, we will highlight briefly.

First, let’s understand their definition of both and then we will look over their differences.

What is Kubernetes?

Originally developed by Google to manage their clusters, Kubernetes is a portable, open-source, cloud-native infrastructure tool. Using this container orchestration tool, containerized applications can be scaled, deployed, and managed automatically.

Compared to Docker Swarm, Kubernetes has a more complex cluster structure.

In addition to its feature richness, Kubernetes also benefits from the valuable contributions of the global community.

Advantages of Kubernetes

  • Large and complex workloads can be sustained and managed by it.
  • There is a large open-source community behind it, and it is backed by Google.
  • Due to its open-source nature, it enjoys broad community support and can handle complex deployment scenarios.
  • All four main cloud providers offer it: Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.
  • Scaling is automatic and automated.
  • Besides its feature-rich nature, it has built-in monitoring and a variety of integration options.

Related: Docker vs Kubernetes – Understand the Difference

What is Docker Swarm?

A Docker native container orchestration platform is also an open-source platform that supports orchestrating clusters of Docker engines.

A Docker Swarm virtualizes multiple Docker instances into one. Docker Swarm clusters generally consist of three components:

  • Nodes
  • Services and tasks
  • Load balancers

Containers are used to run your services and tasks, while nodes are instances of the Docker engine that control your cluster.

Docker Swarm clusters also use load balancing to distribute requests among nodes.

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Advantages of Docker Swarm

  • The Docker Swarm is quite easy to install, making it perfect for those just getting started with container orchestration.
  • It is lightweight.
  • Docker Swarm automatically balances load within Docker containers.
  • In addition, Docker Swarm works seamlessly with existing Docker tools, such as Docker Compose, as it is native to Docker.
  • Using Docker Swarm, you can choose the best nodes in a cluster for container deployment based on intelligent node selection.
  • Swarm API is built into it.

Related: Docker Container: What is it and what are its advantages?

Head to head differences: Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm

Installation and setup

  • Kubernetes: You have to do the manual setup of Kubernetes on each operating system. All such efforts are time consuming for which managed cloud providers will do installation easily.
  • Docker Swarm: Installing Docker is easier because it is compatible with all operating systems.


While Kubernetes focuses on all-in-one scaling based on traffic, Docker Swarm emphasizes rapid scaling.

  • Horizontal autoscaling is built into Kubernetes.
  • Groups can be autoscaled on demand with Swarm.

High availability

  • Kubernetes: Kubernetes has a self-healing feature due to which traffic is diverted from unhealthy pods. High availability and intelligent scheduling are both offered by Kubernetes.
  • Swarm: Swarm Managers offer availability controls, and microservices can be easily duplicated.

Final Verdict: Which is the Best Orchestration Tool?      

For a larger community, Kubernetes is a preferred option but in reality, both serve their particular uses. Organizations or users have to understand and evaluate their requirements before using these orchestration tools.

If a user wants to manage complicated containers and their workloads easily with no extra efforts, Docker Swarm is the right choice to prefer.

But, critical applications require regular monitoring with advanced security infrastructure and a higher availability. This is where Kubernetes wins the bet.

I am a passionate content writer. I write unique, genuine and high-quality content on web hosting and other topics. Being a keen learner I continue to improve my writing skills.

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