Difference between Container and Virtual Machine

Containers and virtual machines (VMs) provide isolated environments for running applications, but they have distinct differences.


Containers are lightweight and share the host operating system’s kernel, making them efficient. However, they are less isolated from the host OS. Containers are ideal for deploying microservices and testing applications in development environments.

Virtual Machines (VMs)

VMs are more heavyweight and run their own operating system, offering greater isolation. They are suitable for running legacy applications and creating isolated test environments.

Understanding the contrasts between containers and VMs helps in choosing the appropriate technology for specific use cases.


The following table compares containers and VMs on a number of factors:

FactorContainerVirtual Machine
IsolationShared kernelSeparate operating system
Efficiency More efficientLess efficient
Use casesMicroservices, development, testingLegacy applications, test environments


Docker is a widely-used containerization platform that simplifies the creation, deployment, and management of containers. With Docker, containers become portable, capable of running on any Docker-enabled host.

Docker excels in running scalable and portable applications, making it a favored choice for microservices and similar use cases.


Containers and virtual machines offer distinct advantages for running applications in isolated environments. The optimal choice depends on your specific requirements.

Containers are ideal when seeking lightweight and efficient application execution. Conversely, virtual machines are well-suited for running legacy applications or establishing isolated testing environments.