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Containers Vs VMs | Which one is better for deployment?


Are you already deploying with VMs and deciding whether to go out of the way and switch to Containers? Or, are you struggling to decide which one among the two should you adapt, to begin with? Then you are at the right place to take on the containers vs VMs discussion.

Container is a fairly younger technology than virtual machines (VMs) but VMs have been and continue to be enormously popular in all data centers regardless of their size. Each of these technologies come with a certain benefit that fits as per the respective user requirements and needs. Before making a decision, one needs to understand both of these virtualization technologies in depth for efficient cloud adoption. Here’s a much clearer picture of containers vs VMs for your understanding:






A container is a standard unit of software that packages code and all its dependencies so that application can run much faster and reliable from one virtual environment to another. A VM is a software program or virtual operating system that exhibits the behavior of a distinct computer.


Abstraction at the app layer that packages code and dependencies together. The physical hardware abstraction turning one server into many servers.


Multiple containers can run on the same machine and share OS with other containers, each running as isolated processes in cloud environment. The hypervisor allowed multiple VMs to run on a single machine, each includes the individual copy of OS.


Containers take up less space (typically tens of MBs in size) VMs take up more space (typically tens of GBs).

Start time

Containers take few seconds to start. VMs take few minutes to boot.


Linux Windows, Linux


Lightweight Heavyweight


OS virtualization Hardware-level virtualization

Use Cases

Containers are a better choice when you need to maximize the number of applications running on the minimum number of servers. VMs are a better choice for running apps that require all of the OS resources and functionality.


Process level isolation, less secure Fully isolated, more secure


None Some


  • Reduced IT management resources
  • Reduced size of snapshots
  • Faster spinning up apps
  • Simplified Security Updates
  • Less code to transfer, migrate, upload workloads
  • All OS resources available to apps
  • Established management tools
  • Established security tools
  • Better security controls


The information provided above is an in-depth analysis of both the virtualizations, but your decisions may vary as per your enterprise requirements. So, ask this to yourself – Are you using Containers or VMs or both? If your enterprise is spending a substantial amount on VMs, then evaluate whether containers fit in your requirements or not because containers can really cut down your cloud cost.

In practice, the optimized set-up is to use both virtualizations if you are considering to conclude on the containers vs VMs. This is because the flexibility of VMs and minimum resource requirements of containers provide maximum functionality. If you are still confused about which solution to use for cloud services, here is our more elaborative take on containers.

Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelists are CMI's in house ambassadors for the entire Cloud ecosystem. They are responsible for propagating the doctrine of cloud computing and help community members make informed decisions.


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