Jenkins vs Kubernetes vs Docker

First thing which you must understand that these systems cannot be properly compared with each other, but in this article we will try to show you some important points and you will see how they work and their advantages and disadvantages.

Everybody in the IT industry is talking about containers because containerization solves a significant problem of running applications in different computing environments. In simple words, Containers are software packages that encapsulate code and all of its dependencies so that an application may move from one computing environment to another and still function consistently. 

The deployment, administration, scaling, and networking of containers are all automated via container orchestration. There are few software infrastructures that make container management easy. The most popular one is Kubernetes.

Also one of the popular DevOps systems is Jenkins. It is a continuous integration server that automates the CI / CD process and creates convenient testing.

Jenkins vs Kubernetes vs Docker: Comparison by popularity

Containers make up complex and essential corporate programs and adoption of the technology is projected to increase in the future, to manage the ever-increasing complexity of container-based applications, efficient and reliable solutions are needed. 

This is where Kubernetes shines, it is used in practically every industry and its popularity is sky-rocketing. Tech giants such as Shopify, Google, Airbnb and conventional businesses such as New York Times all rely on Kubernetes for efficient functioning. 

Docker is a container platform that you must have heard of if you’ve been in the IT sector in the last four to five years. It is an open-source tool for automating the deployment of programs as portable, self-contained containers that may operate in the cloud or on-premises. 

Even though containers have been here for a long time, developing applications based on container technology wasn’t always easy. It was almost 8 years ago in 2013 when Docker was launched and the IT industry was changed forever. 

There is no way to directly compare Kubernetes and Docker, both of them have varied applications, programs are first containerized via Docker and these programs later on are managed by Kubernetes which basically makes the two applications very different. Even though Docker has its own container orchestration framework, it can only be used for less intense workloads. Kubernetes is a beast and the overheads on spinning it up can be a lot which is why it is only used when super complex programs are to be managed.

Last but not least, we have Jenkins, it is a free and open-source continuous integration and deployment server. It drastically speeds up development and deployment time. Basically, it tests the code that has been written in real time and any mistake can be rectified in a matter of minutes. 

All three infrastructures have different use cases, but all of them have been attracting a lot of attention. Just in the last year, there has been a tremendous increase in the searches of all the three software infrastructures. The graph attached above shows the trend for number of searches for each infrastructure between October 2019 and October 2021. 

Docker has been searched the most followed by Jenkins and Kubernetes, but this may change in the future. According to many experts, Kubernetes will become the industry standard for container orchestration which means that its popularity will increase accordingly.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins designation

Jenkins is one of the most popular open-source automation servers out there, it makes the application development process very easy and streamlined. It basically automates continuous integration and continuous deployment giving developers the ability to test their code in real-time. 

This way there is a greater margin of error as most of the problems is resolved right at the time of development. Jenkins is highly customizable with an abundance of plugins which are made possible because it is based on Java. With hundreds of plugins available, the horizon for programmers or coders is broadened.

Since Jenkins is an open-source automation server, it has a big community backing it up and making it better every passing day and is one of the biggest reasons why it’s so popular.

Main functions of Jenkins

  • Testing frameworks can be automated by using Jenkins, it allows several testing frameworks such as PyTest, Robot, Nose2, Selenium etc to be integrated into testing.
  • It supports the development of programs using general-purpose build tools such as Maven, Ivy, Gradle etc. 
  • Jenkins is very flexible when it comes to executing test scripts, it can execute test scripts through several environments such as windows terminal, Linux, shell etc.
  • The biggest feature of Jenkins is obviously the Continuous integration abilities that it offers. Live testing of code allows developers to catch bugs in the early stages of development which helps them rectify issues fast.
  • Jenkins has a strong community base which has contributed more than 1800 plugins to the infrastructure which makes it highly customizable.

Pros and Cons of Jenkins

Jenkins, just like any other software has several advantages and disadvantages that we will list down here, not that it makes Jenkins any bad, but there are some shortcomings that can be improved significantly.

Advantages of Jenkins

  • The first and obvious advantage of Jenkins is that it is an open-source project with a big community backing it.
  • Since Jenkins is built with Java, it works on multiple platforms.
  • The Jenkins project takes input from the public to make sure that all the suggestions are seriously considered. A meeting is held every month with the public for the same.
  • It’s very easy to configure and install as compared to its competitors.
  • It can also be deployed on cloud-based platforms as it supports cloud-based architecture.
  • Another reason for Jenkins popularity is that it focuses on the needs of developers and originally created for the same purpose.

Disadvantages of Jenkins

  • The user interface needs to be updated as it is getting outdated now and it isn’t intuitive in nature. It needs to follow current UI trends and make sure that the interface is user-friendly.
  • Even though the application was made for developers, people other than developers also use Jenkins but since it was made with developers in mind, it becomes a problem for laypeople.
  • Since Jenkins runs on a server, it requires moderate skills and is not at all easy to maintain. It requires server administrators to monitor its activity.
  • Even small setting changes may break continuous integration which may require a developer to monitor it when integration breaks up.

What is Kubernetes?

kubernetes is

Kubernetes, also known as “Kube” or “K8s” is an open-source container orchestration engine that simplifies the deployment and management of container-based applications. It does this by grouping containers in a logical manner to ensure efficiency.  

The project was originally developed by Google and was open-sourced by the company in 2014, it takes advantage of the invaluable experience that has been acquired after years of running production workloads at Google. Almost everything at Google runs in containers, and all these operations are managed by its internal infrastructure called BORG which is the infrastructure that Kubernetes is based upon.  

With the arrival of Kubernetes, software teams have been able to move their emphasis away from mundane maintenance and update duties and onto genuine research and development that cannot be automated. 

Main Functions of Kubernetes:

  • Complex programs often work on multiple hosts and orchestration becomes difficult, but Kubernetes makes it possible.
  • Kubernetes helps you utilize your resources to the maximum as it has container scaling built into it. It replicates Kubernetes nodes which are the smallest units for execution to different nodes. 
  • It also automates application deployment and updates. It also allows organizations to maximize storage capacities.
  • Furthermore, it has the ability to create infinite virtual machines on the cloud.
  • Kubernetes also gives organizations the ability to do a health check of their apps and if there’s a problem, the applications self-heal with options to auto-place, auto-restart and auto-scale. This makes sure that all your applications are safe and the risk of losing valuable programs is minimized.

Pros and Cons of Kubernetes

Even though Kubernetes is a powerful tool, it is relied on other projects to function to the best of its capabilities. Kubernetes only is one part of the puzzle, only after the addition of other projects will you be able to see the full picture and realize the enormous power that Kubernetes has. 

Advantages of Kubernetes

  • It is a must-have if you want to increase your productivity, you can capitalize on the huge ecosystem and that Kubernetes has. It also has a large community which contributes constantly in making the infrastructure better each passing day.
  • This infrastructure is future proof, and its usage will increase and it may even become the go-to software infrastructure for the management of containerized applications.
  • It has easy portability among different computing environments which is a huge plus. 
  • Kubernetes ensures utmost safety as it encrypts all the data that is being managed by it and also gives organizations the ability to scan their applications for any susceptible threats. It has several other features which make it extremely capable.
  • Kubernetes is significantly cheaper when compared to its alternatives and has simplified DevOps.

Although Kubernetes has lots of positives, there are some shortcomings that we will discuss in this section. 

Disadvantages of Kubernetes

  • Kubernetes has amazing capabilities when it comes to container management, but the infrastructure has a very steep learning curve, which can be a problem for organizations as training personnel can incur heavy costs.
  • Given its complexity, Kubernetes is not easy to set up and configuration can be difficult initially.
  • Some organizations may have to migrate existing programs to Kubernetes which can be a headache.
  • Kubernetes was developed to manage extremely complex applications and can be an overkill for simple applications.
  • Ironically, if there is a lack of a well-trained team specialized in Kubernetes, it can even reduce productivity. 

What is Docker?

docker overview

Docker was developed to streamline application development processes by automating the task of containerization. Containerization (Containers encapsulate code with all its dependencies to ensure that an application is able to run in any environment) ensures efficiency and reliability.  

Building applications based on containers is a very difficult task and only a selected number of specialists could take on the task of containerizing until very recently. Docker has made it significantly easy to containerize an application, features such as namespaces and cgroups were derived from the Linux kernel. 

It can also isolate containers allowing multiple containers to function on a single computer using their sandbox resources in virtual environments. 

Main functions of Docker

  • Docker’s main feature is to automate containerization of applications, a Linux based feature mainstreamed for applications of all kinds.
  • It allows applications to function in an efficient, seamless and portable manner.
  • It can reuse containers and also has the capability of container versioning.
  • Docker has the capability to scale applications to a great extent thanks to containerization.
  • It ensures fast and consistent delivery of applications and makes it possible for multiple workloads to run on the same hardware.

Pros and Cons of Docker

Docker was the first project to introduce the concept of containerization apart from Linux. There are several aspects of the software that make it unique, there are both advantages and disadvantages to Docker, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages of using Docker

  • Docker ensures stability and allows organizations to use their hardware in the best way possible with the help of distributed software. This way maximum processing power can be put to work.
  • The software designed with Docker will be future proof as it will be able to handle intense workloads.
  • The biggest and most obvious advantage of Docker is the automation capabilities that it offers.
  • Docker is very efficient as it saves a lot of time by speeding up the development processes.
  • It also is efficient with space and organizations can save a lot of space if they opt to work with Docker.
  • It also makes debugging environments super easy.

Disadvantages of Docker

  • Docker is a fairly complex software and there is a steep learning curve to it, so will have to train your development team to handle it. Training a team can be very costly and hence it is not for organizations that don’t want to deal with massive overheads.
  • Docker even though is a very powerful tool, it cannot work independently, it needs other platforms to function in the best way possible.
  • Non-native platforms are not ideal for Docker and you may face several performance-related issues which will hinder your workflow.
  • Lastly, it does not have perfect documentation, there are several gaps that can cause complexities.

Jenkins vs Kubernetes vs Docker: Key Differences

JenkinsKubernetesDocker
Auto-scalingSupportsSupportsDoesn’t support
CustomizationPossible via pluginsNot customizableMore comprehensive and highly customizable
Fault tolerancelow fault tolerancelow fault tolerancehigh fault tolerance
Limit by nodes It is variable and has no fixed limitTill 5000Till 2000
Developed byKohsuke KawaguchiGoogleDocker, Inc
Functioning modelRun/build/test applicationContainer-orchestration systemContainers engine

Conclusion

The DevOps engineer/manager must choose the best choice for the firm, whether it is Kubernetes, Docker, or Jenkins. This must be done in accordance with the budget, features, scalability, robustness, and so on. 

Choosing the correct collection of tools is a rising problem for stakeholders, technologists, DevOps engineers, and others. Furthermore, we advise that a single device may not be a complete answer for DevOps adoption. Combinations of two or more options may be the greatest solution for the company.

These projects work best when working in tandem, that is when their full potential is realised. Figuring out what is best for your organization to containerize your workloads can be a headache as this technology is very complex. There is a lot of information available on the internet, but even after days and weeks of research, it seems uncertain as to which is the best suitable option. 

Every business is unique and so are their needs, to find out the best possible solution for your organization, you can reach out to us by filling in the feedback form, we will be more than happy to consult on this issue at no costs whatsoever.

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