Updated July 7, 2023
Difference Between LXC and Docker
Both Docker and LXC are extensively used among programmers in the dev/sit and Production regions. The containers have become prominent as the industry moves beyond the Virtual Machines, sitting the heavy resource utilization. Many types of containers are available, and out of these, two prominent ones are LXC and Docker. The choice of which container depends on the use case and application type. By its popularity, docker is a great platform for building new webscale microservices applications and optimizing the test or run regions. Regarding LXC, which can be lightweight, it also provides a zero-impact alternative to traditional hypervisor-based Virtualization methods. Hence, LXC is better opting for intensive applications in data I/O operations.
Head to Head Comparison between LXC and Docker (Infographics)
Below are the top 7 comparisons between LXC vs Docker:
Key differences between LXC and Docker
Let us discuss some key differences between LXC vs Docker in the following points:
- Even though LXC and Docker use containers to isolate and encapsulate the application workload, their major differences between the two.
- LXC is a container technology that gives us lightweight Linux containers, and docker is single application virtualization that is based on top of the containers. Thus even though based on container utilization, they may sound similar, but they are completely different when it comes to usage.
- Unlike the lightweight LXC containers, docker does not tend to behave like lightweight VMs. The single application restriction of the docker is strictly by design.
- We can easily log on to our LXC containers, treat it as an operating system, install our required applications and other services, and work as expected. But when you consider docker, the base OS template is trimmed down to a single application environment and does not have proper init daemons, cron, Syslog, etc.
- Docker has added multiple interesting changes, such as layered containers, a registry for images, etc., to container-based technologies, thus gathering much buzz among the developers.
- Regarding most recent updates, LXC can support unprivileged containers, which let the non-root user deploy the containers, and docker does not support this yet.
- So the container’s choice is purely use-case dependent, and it is up to the user to decide. The docker approach can necessitate customized approaches at each stage to accomplish multiple tasks such as installing, running, and scaling the containers.
Comparison Table of LXC vs Docker
The table below summarizes the comparisons between LXC vs Docker:
|Operating System||Provides Nominal operating system environment that can support and handle all the required features and capabilities of Linux Environment.||The Docker platform runs natively on Linux but can also run on Windows. Later support for macOS is also included, and thus Docker is not completely Linux-dependent but natively uses the operating system on which it is running.|
|Popularity||LXC is quite old, but due to some limitations did not get much popularity among the developers and admin.||When it comes to the popularity of containerization technologies, docker is the winner. Docker took containers beyond the OS level to merge the granular world of applications. We can say docker is an extension to LXC and hence gained popularity.|
|Tooling||When it comes to tools, LXC tooling sticks are quite close to traditional system admins running bare metal servers have used to, i.e., direct SSH access, which allows the usage of automation scripts that the team might have utilized on bare metal or virtual machines running on Virtual Box and any other virtualized production environments. This portability feature makes migrating applications from a traditional Linux server to run on LXC containers quite seamless, but only if you are not using other containerization solutions like dockers.
The LXC CLI can help run multiple commands, such as managing tasks, creating, launching, and deleting the LXC containers.
Regarding tools, the case of Docker is centered around the Docker CLI (Command Line Interface), with commands for listing the images and gathering and handling Docker images. Docker Hub, a public image registry, can access various images for frequently used applications. You can also download the required operating system images, which lets you run on a docker container. For example, let’s say a Linux operating system in a Docker container. This particular function would be typically associated with some LXC containers, which allows us to run operating systems without much of a need for a VM. However, Docker containers are lighter weight for handling applications to support fast pacing, achieve higher scalability, and deploy the required applications with the microservice architecture.
|Ecosystem and Cloud Support||We don’t need any other vendor for the tooling of LXC, as an ecosystem that we already use on Linux will be enough to support LXC as well.||Docker needs a specialized support system due to its extensive ecosystem to operate effectively. Large cloud providers like AWS, IBM, Google, and Microsoft Azure offer support for docker. The Docker ecosystem comprises various components, such as Docker Swarm, which manages the Docker container cluster. Docker Trusted Registry handles the Docker images registry, while Docker Compose launches multiple applications on multiple containers that require data exchange. Lastly, Docker Machine is used to create virtual machines with Docker capabilities.|
|Ease of Use||Moving from VM to LXC is easier as LXC runs a standard init for system images, which lets you run on a docker container. For example, a Linux operating system in a Docker container. This particular function would be typically associated with some LXC containers, which allows us to run operating systems without much of a need for a VM. However, Docker containers are lighter weight for handling applications to support fast pacing, achieve higher scalability, and deploy the required applications with the microservice architecture.||When it comes to the migration is a bit complex when it is completed to LXC from VM, but for developers, since they need not use raw low-level API will be simpler and easily learnable.|
LXC offers quite a big advantage of a Virtual environment on Linux, providing isolation from one another. It is also a cheaper and faster alternative to VM. Docker is a significant extension of docker capabilities and hence more preferred among developers and organizations.
This is a guide to the top differences between LXC vs Docker. Here we discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison tables. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –