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Difference between Virtual Machines and Containers

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 03 Jan, 2020

Virtual machines and Containers are two ways of deploying multiple, isolated services on a single platform.

Virtual Machine:
It runs on top of an emulating software called the hypervisor which sit between the hardware and the virtual machine. The hypervisor is the key to enable virtualization. It manages the sharing of physical resources into virtual machines. Each virtual machine runs its own guest operating system. They are less agile and have low portability than containers.

It sits on the top of a physical server and its host operating system. They share a common operating system that requires care and feeding for bug fixes and patches. They are more agile and have high portability than virtual machines.

Let’s see the difference between Virtual machines and Containers.

SNo.Virtual Machines(VM)Containers
1VM is piece of software that allows you to install other software inside of it so you basically control it virtually as opposed to installing the software directly on the computer.While a container is a software that allows different functionalities of an application independently.
2.Applications running on VM system can run different OS.While applications running in a container environment share a single OS.
3.VM virtualizes the computer system.While containers virtualize the operating system only.
4.VM size is very large.While the size of container is very light; i.e. a few megabytes.
5.VM takes minutes to run, due to large size.While containers take a few seconds to run.
6.VM uses a lot of system memory.While containers require very less memory.
7.VM is more secure.While containers are less secure.
8.VM’s are useful when we require all of OS resources to run various applications.While containers are useful when we are required to maximise the running applications using minimal servers.
9.Examples of VM are: KVM, Xen, VMware.While examples of containers are:RancherOS, PhotonOS, Containers by Docker.

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