Gartner Research

Docker Democratizes Virtualization for DevOps-Minded Developers and Administrators

Published: 20 March 2015

ID: G00271225

Analyst(s): Richard Watson


Docker's innovation is democratizing virtualization, giving usable, application-focused virtualization to DevOps-minded developers and administrators. This assessment informs solution architects and infrastructure managers evaluating containers about the benefits and risks of adopting Docker.

Table Of Contents
  • Introduction to Docker
    • What Is Docker?
  • Docker in Detail
    • Docker Client and Server (Daemon)
    • Containers and Formats
    • Docker Images and Dockerfiles
    • Docker Registries
  • Docker's Goals and Its True Innovation
    • Benefits of Operating System Containers
    • Making OS Containers User-Friendly
    • Normalizing Packaging of Software Into Portable Containers
    • Providing an Application-Centric Abstraction on Containers
    • Enabling a Container Ecosystem Beyond OS Virtualization
  • Why Is Docker Taking Off Now?
  • Docker Sounds Like ...
    • Docker vs. Virtual Machines
    • Docker vs. Vagrant
    • Docker vs. Application Virtualization
    • Docker vs. Server Configuration Management
    • Docker vs. OS Package Managers
    • Docker vs. Application Dependency Management
    • Docker vs. Platform as a Service
  • Risks and Challenges of Adopting Docker
    • Containers Are Not for Every Application
    • Falling Off the Complexity Cliff
    • Security and Risk Management
    • The Illusion of Cloud Portability
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Ignore the Bleeding Edge of the Docker Ecosystem and Act Now
  • Invest Now in Changing Dev and Test Configurations to Use Docker
  • Use Docker in Production If You Have Sophisticated and Agile Operations
  • Remember: Adding Docker Will Make Your Environment More Complex

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