Difference between Virtual Machine and Docker

Docker containers wrap a piece of software in a complete filesystem that contains everything needed to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything that can be installed on a server. This guarantees that the software will always run the same, regardless of its environment.

This illustration Source: https://www.docker.com/what-docker shows quite well how it is different from normal Virtual Machine (OK, Hypervisor can be installed on bare metal/infrastructure so but the illustration does give an idea).


A full virtualized system gets its own set of resources allocated to it, and does minimal sharing. You get more isolation, but it is much heavier (requires more resources). With docker you get less isolation, but the containers are lightweight (require fewer resources). So you could easily run thousands of containers on a host, and it won’t even blink.

There are pros and cons for each type of virtualized system. If you want full isolation with guaranteed resources, a full VM is the way to go. If you just want to isolate processes from each other and want to run a ton of them on a reasonably sized host, then Docker is your friend.