OpenShift vs Docker

While Docker is merely a container engine, OpenShift is an enterprise platform for container orchestration. In reality, OpenShift deployments allow you to run Docker containers. However, when you add Docker Swarm to the mix, Docker can be considered an alternative to OpenShift for small-scale use cases. Here is all the information you require regarding OpenShift vs Docker.

For developer teams, containerization has made it easier to create, manage, and distribute applications across a variety of infrastructures. Well-known containerization systems with advanced functionality include Openshift and Docker. 

Red Hat, a provider of development tools, created the OpenShift Kubernetes platform. At its core, Openshift uses both Docker and Kubernetes container technologies. The platform keeps enterprise-grade security and extensive multi-tenancy features while enabling developers to optimize procedures while creating applications. According to Datadog, utilization of the OpenShift platform increased by 28% in 2021, demonstrating the platform's appeal with cloud container technology.

A well-known open-source container-as-a-service (CaaS) platform called Docker offers a full complement of contemporary tools required for the quick development, deployment, and integration of applications. To assess the efficacy of the code, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) methods use Docker.

It is obvious why most businesses are starting to embrace container technology in their operations given its widespread use and the characteristics that have made application development easier and faster. For instance, a Red Hat report released in 2021 found that 46% of the companies surveyed identified container-based apps as their top software development goal for the upcoming year.

Although the use of container technology is growing in popularity, organizations frequently have trouble deciding which platform to utilize. Both OpenShift and Docker have the ability to deliver effective services.

Check out the differences between OpenShift and Docker below to help you decide which is best for your business:

Table of Content - OpenShift vs Docker

What is Docker?



Both an open-source (Community) and a for-profit (Enterprise) version of Docker are available. You may construct and manage containers with the help of a variety of tools and components provided by Docker.

Docker Engine, which creates server-side daemons to host containers, images, storage volumes, and networks, is the core technology handling tasks and processes. A command-line interface (CLI) that the Docker daemon provides enables the client to communicate with it using the Docker API. Dockerfiles are used to construct containers, while Docker Compose files are used to specify the components that go into each container.

A SaaS tool called Docker Hub enables customers to exchange containerized apps through a centralized library. In addition to private and public container registries, it offers over 100,000 publicly accessible applications.

Although it offers an additional degree of ownership and control over the storage and distribution of container images, Trusted Registry is a repository comparable to Hub.

The Docker Swarm mode in Docker Engine allows load balancing of clusters. Users can quickly extend their container deployments to many hosts by doing this, which entails pooling together numerous Docker host resources so they function as one.

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What is OpenShift?


Along with Docker and Kubernetes, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) forms the foundation of the OpenShift platform. The administration of a project's entire pipeline can be made easier with the help of OpenShift. Self-service provisioning for computing resources, container provisioning, and code pulls from version control systems are all possible. 

New builds can be executed, tested, and deployed by developers in Docker-compatible containers. OpenShift enables operations teams to manage and automate the building, scaling, and deployment of applications or containers. Although the operations team must still keep an eye on and manage the container instances and underlying resources, OpenShift also provides automated performance monitoring.

A scheduler, a management platform, data storage, an API authentication engine, and other essential parts make up the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. These components are all powered by the RHEL operating system.

Builder and Registry are two examples of Docker tools that work with OpenShift. To choose which frameworks or technologies you should integrate with the platform, you can assess OpenShift's compatibility.

Related Article: OpenShift Interview Questions

OpenShift vs Docker- Comparison

The comparison between Docker Swarm and OpenShift is especially pertinent because Docker and OpenShift offer two distinct functions. Now let's compare the two.

Docker Swarm

A tool for clustering and scheduling Docker containers is called Docker Swarm. Swarm enables developers and IT managers to build clusters of Docker nodes and manage them like separate virtual machines. The layer between the operating system and the container images is called Docker Engine, which also provides native support for Swarm mode. Swarm mode makes it possible for Docker Engine to incorporate Docker Swarm's orchestration features.

  • Pros and Cons of OpenShift


  • An online console that lets developers browse and control software utilizing continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) and integrated supply chain management (SCM) workflows. 
  • You can choose your chosen languages and development environments by using the built-in support for Java, Ruby, Node.js, Python, PHP, and Perl while creating your applications. 
  • Thorough management of the SDLC process.
  • Applications can be scaled by DevOps and IT staff by enabling clustering and adding new instances of the apps. 
  • Support for one-click application deployment, enabling users to deploy applications with a straightforward "Git push" command.


  • Premium service with constrained features and support for the entry-level package (most useful features are reserved for premium subscriptions). 
  • Inadequate support for dated applications. Technically challenging—to fully utilize OpenShift, you must have a working knowledge of both the technology and the market. 
  • Application design is limited to the Kubernetes pattern.
  • Implementations of several clouds are not supported.
Related Article: Docker Security

Docker Swarm

A tool for clustering and scheduling Docker containers is called Docker Swarm. Swarm enables developers and IT managers to build clusters of Docker nodes and manage them like separate virtual machines. The layer between the operating system and the container images is called Docker Engine, which also provides native support for Swarm mode. Swarm mode makes it possible for Docker Engine to incorporate Docker Swarm's orchestration features.

  • Pros and Cons of Docker Swarm


  • The ability to create applications using Docker Engine and Docker Datacenter remains with DevOps professionals.
  • Resources and tools that help DevOps and IT professionals quickly create and maintain a distributed system.
  • a DevOps setting that can support the entire deployment team, including developers and testers.
  • Support for developers and other personnel involved in the software development lifecycle to migrate apps to a cloud environment with the least amount of effort.
  • No additional software is required for operation, making it simple to use.

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  • Implementing persistent data storage is challenging. 
  • Users that are already familiar with Docker Compose should use Swarm. lacks sophisticated features like built-in logging and monitoring. 
  • Supports more straightforward container deployments for smaller enterprises.
  • Some container items do not function with other containers (partly as a result of the competition between vendors).
Infrastructure SupportCloud environments as well as on-premise Windows or Linux deployment environments are supported by OpenShift. Additionally, it has native routes set up for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Red Hat Atomic Host, and CentOS containers to direct public traffic. However, it restricts the deployment options for businesses that don't use these platforms.

You can bundle apps as small container images using Docker. Once set up, these containers can function reliably across a range of situations. Most public cloud infrastructures, including Azure Container Instances (ACI), Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and on-premises Kubernetes, support the deployment of Docker containers.

For the build, test, and deployment phases, Docker supports a variety of desktop and cloud-native environments. Both Windows and Linux servers are supported.

SecurityStrong security features, such as an integrated server for authorization and authentication, are offered by OpenShift to safeguard containers. You may manage and choose who has access to which parts of processes using the rules-based access control (RBAC) capability it provides. Additionally, it enforces security regulations to prevent running container images, both authorized and unapproved, that call for root access.

Default security procedures are incorporated into the layout of Docker containers. Additionally, it offers a range of options for hardening Docker hosts to reduce the severity and risk of container breakouts. The attack surface is reduced by built-in security measures like control groups and kernel namespaces.

To establish policies for intrusion protection, Docker enables you to use already-existing access control systems. In order to add an additional layer of protection, you can also enable hardening technologies like GRSEC, SELinux, and App Armor.

Workload TypesAll workload types, including Docker images and Kubernetes-enclosed workloads, are supported by OpenShift.For container management and orchestration, Docker provides Docker EE. Due to its close integration with Docker API for communication, Docker EE is best suited for coordinating Docker images.
Upgrades and PatchesA little bit after the launches of Kubernetes, Docker, and other open source platforms, OpenShift updates its repository.Initially, Docker releases updates and patches.
CI/CD OperationsJenkins is already integrated into OpenShift, making CI/CD setup simple.External extensions or tools, such as Jenkins, are supported for CI/CD in Docker and must be deployed separately.
Multi-cloud EnablementOpenShift is accessible on Azure as well as a dedicated online platform.Public clouds like Google Cloud, EKA on AWS, and AKS on Azure all support Docker.


Due to the fact that they are both open-source, OpenShift and Docker complement one another or can be utilized separately. Both technologies are well-liked and frequently employed all over the world. The firm can choose either technology based on its benefits and drawbacks in accordance with its needs.

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Last updated: 14 Apr 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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