When Not to Use Docker and Kubernetes: Cases Where Containers Don’t Help

Author: Sara Sharma
June 17, 2022
When Not to Use Docker and Kubernetes: Cases Where Containers Don’t Help


If you are a seasoned developer and not living under a rock, you must be aware of these two popular container technologies: Docker and Kubernetes.

83% of IT professionals trust Kubernetes as a top choice for container management, and around 4 million developers deploy Docker.

The numbers in themselves parade the popularity of the technologies among the developer community.

But do you know when not to use Docker or when not to use Kubernetes?

Yes, you read that right!

Undoubtedly, Docker and Kubernetes are both powerful technologies, but that doesn't mean that they are the right choice for every app and team.

They are made to solve a specific set of problems, and if you aren't facing them, then deploying Docker and Kubernetes technologies will be more of a trouble than a savior.

Therefore installing Docker or installing Kubernetes technologies will not remove all of your problems.

In this article, we will explore the fundamentals of Docker and Kubernetes and scenarios where you can or not use them.

Let's get started!

What is Docker?

Docker is an open-source containerization software platform. It creates containers that can run on a cloud or external service provider.

Undoubtedly, Docker is the most impactful development technology that has been launched to empower developers by synchronizing the dependencies used while developing an app/software.

It is the underlying technology used to handle the workflow involved in building applications. It leverages resource isolation in the OS kernel to run multiple Docker containers at the same time.

When to use Docker?

If your requirements match one or more of the following categories, Docker can be an excellent fit to boost your organization.

1. When you want to speed the performance

Docker increases the performance and speed of an application because it doesn't contain an operating system. This means Docker can create containers quickly.

2. When you are looking for a portable solution

Eliminate the 'it only works on my system' phrase once and for all from your professional life. Portability is the key benefit offered by Docker and the prime reason why many businesses are adopting it.

Once you have evaluated the containerized application, you can use it on another system.

3. When your software requires a consistent environment

Docker maintains a consistent environment from the initial stage to the last. You can use the same container from development to launch without worrying about the changes.

When not to use Docker?

There can be scenarios where Docker is not the best solution to aid your organization. Here are some Docker disadvantages:

1. When Security Is Your Priority

Docker containers are assumed to be secure but to be honest; they aren't secure. They carry their vulnerabilities, which require time to be understood.

Therefore, you should not use Docker when security is your priority. Developers need to be extra careful while running operations in the container code because a single mistake can cost you a fortune.

2. When You Are Looking For A Better Storage Option

Connecting containers with storage is already a struggle in itself. Upon that, installing Docker won't really take away your storage issue. Therefore, you shouldn't use Docker.

Developers have to install a third-party storage solution for Docker containers. This means you need to put in extra effort and time.

3. When You Are Developing A Desktop Application

Docker is great for developing web applications, but if your end-product is a desktop application, then we would suggest you not to use Docker.

As it doesn't provide the environment for running the software with a graphical interface, you would need to perform additional workarounds.

What is Kubernetes?

Developed by Google, Kubernetes is a container-centric management software that is used to deploy and operate containerized applications.

Kubernetes is a Greek word meaning 'sailing master' or 'pilot,' which means like a pilot manages the ship; similarly, Kubernetes will look after your containers.

When to use Kubernetes?

Here are some of the great reasons to consider using Kubernetes:

1. When You Need To Scale Quickly

If you are targeting to scale up the application infrastructure quickly, then Kubernetes is the better choice.

Your application will consist of multiple services, and scaling them up with Kubernetes is an easy option because, besides being a container manager, it also has APIs which lets you automate a lot of tasks.

2. When You Want To Move To Cloud-Native Approach

If you are planning to move to the cloud soon, then installing Kubernetes can be an excellent choice for you.

However, preparing the organization to adopt the Kubernetes is an important task. Therefore, partner with a company that has years of hands-on experience in Kubernetes consulting services.

3. When You Are Looking For A Resilient Solution

In today's dynamic world, the failure of application architecture can be a nightmare. As a developer, you need to deploy failure handling codes to avoid unexpected errors.

But it takes a lot of time and effort to correct the errors. It is where Kubernetes "ReplicaSet' comes to solve the problem.

When Not To Use Kubernetes?

Like every coin has two sides; similarly, every technology has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the Kubernetes disadvantages and scenarios where you should not use Kubernetes. So, let's see the reasons why you shouldn't use Kubernetes.

1. When You Are Working On A Simple Project

To be honest, the effort and money that goes into deploying Kubernetes are not worth it as it is expensive and too complicated.

Simple or small-scale projects can be developed using less expensive and complicated alternatives. So, you must not use Kubernetes.

2. When You Want To Cut Down The Complexity

Learning Kubernetes is complex and can easily overwhelm your employees. If your team lacks the necessary knowledge, then we would suggest you stay out of the sheer complexity of Kubernetes, as it will only hamper your organization's productivity and work cycle. Therefore, we advise you not to use Kubernetes.

3. When You Are Tight On Budget

Kubernetes is an open-source platform, but training your employees to adopt Kubernetes will be expensive. Therefore, if you are tight on budget, we would suggest you not to use Kubernetes and try some other less expensive alternatives. Later on, switch to Kubernetes, whenever you feel right.

Difference between Docker & Kubernetes

As we have now understood when not to use Docker and when not to use Kubernetes, let us understand the differences between them further. We have granularly explained popular cloud technologies: Docker and Kubernetes, and scenarios where they won't help.

However, we will be clearing up the confusion around installing Docker and installing Kubernetes by simply explaining their roles.

While developing an application, you need a database to store data, a programming language to hold it together, and obviously a framework for updating the features, right?

Now, dealing with these dependencies every single time while simultaneously dealing with the changes to the central server is a struggle.

This is where Docker comes in! It streamlines the workflow through the container creation process.

Now you have someone who will look after your dependencies, but who will monitor these containers?

Do you have enough resources and time to handle a container if something goes wrong in it?

As a developer, you need to take out time from your schedule to identify the troubled container, fix the discrepancy, and then start a new one.

This can be a time-consuming and tiresome process.

Kubernetes can help by automating the entire process. It is designed to manage containers and resolve the issues.

To boil it down, Docker is a containerization platform, i.e., it creates containers, and Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform which means it supervises and manages multi-containers.

However, both of them work around similar units called 'containers.'

Final Verdict

Businesses are already undergoing the wave of digitalization. Technologies are used to address the challenges skillfully by bridging the gaps.

We hope by now you would have known when not to use Kubernetes and when not to use Docker.

Docker & Kubernetes technologies have gained popularity in running and testing software in the modern era. For many developers, they offer an ideal balance between flexibility and performance.

Acquiring such technologies can grow your business exponentially. Although if you feel you are satisfied with your present workflow, then the best option is to stick with what works for you.

However, if you want to adopt cloud technologies to grow your business, and if it looks like a daunting task to you, get in touch with our cloud experts!