Updated March 27, 2023
Difference Between RKT and Docker
RKT(rocket) vs Docker Both are popularly known among developers who work on virtual machines and container-based platforms. Docker is a leading container-based platform that supports continuous high-velocity innovation enabling multiple organizations to seamlessly build process and share applications which can be even legacy ones. Docker is created as part of the open-source project in 2013 and has garnished instant fame because of the features isolation, Rapid integration and build-up, reproducibility and testability, etc. RKT is more knows as an “app container at run time” among the developers and is a CLI based application container. Rkt, which is Rocket, is known for its fast, composable and secure providing feature. Many users have noted security concerns with docker, and hence CoreOS has to release RKT as a competitor to docker in 2014, and this also became popular because of if its features such as secure, interoperable, etc.
Head to Head Comparison between RKT and Docker (Infographics)
Below are the top 5 comparisons between RKT vs Docker:
Key differences between RKT and Docker
Let us discuss some key differences between RKT vs Docker in the following points:
- The main key difference between RKT and Docker will be a daemon. Rocket does not have any daemon associated with it, so when the user runs “rocket run coreos/etcd”, it is directly executing under the process that started it. Whereas Docker daemon is the service that will be running on the host operating system and this particular daemon runs on Linux. Still, there is the feasibility to run on macOS and windows as well.
- Since Rocket is an app container runtime, another major difference would be Rocket can run multiple applications inside the container unless the docker. Thus, we will have an active monitoring initiative that ensures that we can restart the process when more than once processed are sharing the same container.
- Another major difference would be with container image security. In Docker, there will be a public image registry that can be downloaded and customized. Thus there will be the possibility that server image can be replaced with malware one, and this will be huge isolation. But in RKT, signature verifications are done, so as soon as the server image is downloaded, it will check with the signature to validate if it has tampered. This drawback with docker has some relief with some added security feature, but it is not as secure as RKT.
- Docker runs its containers from the root, and this will be the superuser privilege, and many server owners feel that this can complicate things. In RKT, new containers will never be created from the root privileged process, and thus even if container breakout happens, the attacker will not be able to get root privileges.
Comparison Table of RKT vs Docker
The table below summarizes the comparisons between RKT vs Docker:
|Ease of Use
|CoreOS provides a tectonic platform that allows the visual management of containers and provides better ease of use.
|Docker also has a GUI based manager for managing docker containers and is known as Kitematic.
|API and Extensibility
|GRPC is the API used by CoreOS, a high performing, open-source and universal framework. The API services used by RKT are designed to run without root privileges and has a read-only interface. The API service which is used is optional for running pods; the start or stop or crash of API won’t affect any pods or even images.
|There is an API for interacting with Docker daemon as well as SDKs for GO and Python known as Docker Engine API. The SDKs can allow us to scale and build docker applications quickly and easily. Docker Engine API is also a restful API that can be accessed by an HTTP client such as curl or weget.
|In the container platform, docker and rkt are dominant players, and both vendors have shown dominance by highlighting individual features. Rcketr or RKT is more security-focused container solutions; it is an open-source lightweight Linux OS on top of the Linux kernel.
|In docker, to have advanced capabilities, docker data centre solutions provide enterprise container orchestration or graded security feature or enhanced application management.
|Because of its popularity and dominance, RKT has developed a strong user and open-source developer community where most of the questions get cleared. They have versatile documentation support as well. There is a CoreOS user forum available also on the #Coseos IRC channel.
|Docker also has versatile community support because of its huge number of users. On docker official site, you can learn more about docker and get to know about lots of questions and also about its community support. It also provides appreciations to its versatile user by the name of docker captains and encourages them to share their knowledge in docker with others.
|Rkt provides advanced security features by features such as KVM, which stands for Kernel-based virtual machine container-based isolation, Integration with TPM, Support from SELinux, which provide control to fine-grained access that can be integrated into containers, Signature validation feature to images and also able separate privileges. With these features, RKT will be one and only one choice for security-minded people.
|Docker has a few major areas where security can be considered, and they are Intrinsic Security of the Kernel with namespace and cgroups. The docker daemon’s security feature loopholes in the profile of container configuration when customised by the user. The namespace provides the most straight forward and the first form of isolation. In docker, each container also gets its own stack of the network, which means that the container in question will not get access to the socket or another container’s interface. Thus providing container isolation. Cgroups or control groups are another level of key components for docker when it comes to security. cgroups provide meaning full metrics providing each container with a fair share of system resources like CPU, disk I/O etc.
Thus when it comes to containers, Docker and CoreOS RKT will be the popular names that we will hear, and the choice will purely depend on the use case. If we are more integrated towards security, then RKT will be the option. Docker is used by PayPal, eBay, EBC, ADP, Spotify, GE appliance, etc. Similarly, RKT is used in organizations such as Verizon. Viacom, Salesforce.com, etc.
This is a guide to the top differences between RKT vs Docker. Here we discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –