Comparing Docker Container and Docker Images

The following article on Comparing Docker Containers and Docker Images, explains how docker containers differ from docker images.

Basically, docker containers are lightweight, portable, and executable packages that contain all the components that an application requires to run, including the application code, runtime environment, system libraries, and dependencies. Also, we create the containers from Docker images and they can run in any environment that supports Docker.

On the other hand, a docker image has instructions using which we can create containers. So, they are only read-only templates. In other words, an image is a snapshot of a container at a specific point in time and includes all the files, configurations, and dependencies needed to run the application.

In summary, Docker images are static templates that contain the instructions and dependencies needed to create a Docker container, while Docker containers are running instances of those images with their own writable filesystem and running processes.

The following list compares Docker images and Docker containers.

  • Images are immutable. So, we can’t change them after creation. Whereas, while containers are mutable and can be modified during runtime.
  • Also, we store the images in a Docker registry or locally, while containers are created from images and run in Docker hosts.
  • Likewise, images can be shared and reused, while containers are unique to a specific Docker host and are typically deleted once they are no longer needed.
  • Furthermore, we can create multiple containers from the same image, each with its own isolated runtime environment and file system.

In summary, Docker images are the building blocks of Docker containers, and containers are the executable units that run the application.

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