3 Reasons to use Docker on VMware


As the Docker platform makes waves throughout the IT Industry with an increased use to 49% from 35% in 2017, questions surrounding how this will affect virtualization platform use naturally arise. Previously, we discussed the reasons to implement Docker Enterprise Edition. In this post, we will explore how VMWare can support a Docker Enterprise edition implementation.

Platforms like VMware have been the crux of enterprise IT solutions for so long that a change can seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be though, as using both Docker and VMWare have proven to offer numerous benefits.

In order to use the Docker platform to aid your digital transformation but still leverage the efficiencies of VMware, there are 3 key areas to consider:

Developers want to manage apps, not infrastructure

VMware offers a wide variety of products including those that virtualize a single application as well as those that manage data centers and clouds. However, in this article, we will only be referring to VMware vSphere, their product used to virtualize entire operating systems such as Linux distributions and Windows servers.

VMware is a type-1 hypervisor, meaning it sits between the virtualized operating system and the server hardware. A number of different operating systems can run on a single VMware installation by using OS-specific applications, running on each OS instance.

Docker is a system for orchestrating, or managing, application containers which are used to virtualize an application as well as the software libraries, services and operation system components required to run it.

All of the Docker containers in a deployment will run on a single operating system as they share commonly used resources from that operating system. Sharing resources means that the application container is much smaller than the full virtualized operating system created in VMware. That smaller software image in a container can typically be created much more quickly than the VMware operating system image: in seconds rather than minutes.

The key question for the deployment team is why virtualization is being considered. If the point of the shift is at the operating system level with the goal to provide each user or user population with their own operating environment while requiring as few physical servers as possible, then VMware is the logical option.

If the focus is on the application, with the operating system hidden or irrelevant to the user, then Docker containers become a realistic option for deployment.

Optimize Software License Costs

Another area of concern is the cost of keeping the virtualized platform by either purchasing more licenses or renewing what you have. Your organization has spent a sizable chunk of cash to have an optimized virtual platform with the ability to run any OS to support the applications for your business. Spending more money may not be a viable option.

Consider this: When Docker is introduced into your business, you will recognize a 50% increase server consolidation after containerizing. This means less hardware costs and savings on VM and OS licensing.

In some cases, the Docker platform can be viewed as an augmentation to the VMware environment. Rather than buying new licenses to add more VMware servers, renew what licenses you do have but optimize the resources by allowing Docker to assist in the application stack and deployment.

Application Defense in Depth

Containers are inherently secure on their own. Docker containers create isolation layers between applications and host as well as reduce the host surface area which protects both the host and the co-located containers with restricted access. Docker containers running on bare-metal have the same high-level restrictions applied to them as they would if running on virtual machines. But Docker containers also pair well with virtualization technologies by protecting the virtual machine itself and providing a line of defense for the host.


Moving to a Docker platform doesn’t mean that you will have to get rid of your favorite virtualization platform. Instead, it can be used to enhance that environment and save you some money along the way. This will be seen in reduced CAPEX and a more streamlined OPEX. You will also still have the benefit of knowing your containers and the applications that are being delivered by them will be secure.

The Docker environment also offers your developers and operational staff the flexibility needed to spin up development environments along with the necessary development tool kits. Therefore, your application delivery is easier and faster to market.

At the Stone Door Group, we build digital transformation solutions that take all the guesswork out of transitioning legacy infrastructure to modern container technologies. We execute an industry best practice migration methodology that delivers tangible and valuable outcomes. To learn more, drop us an email at letsdothis@stonedoorgroup.com

About the Author

John Lucas is a Docker Certified Associate and Accredited Instructor for Stone Door Group. He is part of a team of experienced DevOps cloud engineers who have performed thousands of hours of digital transformation projects for customers. To learn more, drop us a line at letsdothis@stonedoorgroup.com