VMs versus Containers

The way you operate your computing systems is imperative to the overall efficiency, productivity and success of your business. With many major tech companies investing in containers, you’ve likely been wondering if VMs are up to par. While containers are greatly popular, virtual machines are still a plausible option. Though, both VMs and containers present their own unique benefits and drawbacks. In order to determine which option is best for your enterprise, you must first understand the pros and cons and major differences between VMs and containers.

What are VMs?

Virtual Machines (VMs) is a simulation of a computing system. VMs make it possible to run the various computing applications that appear to be many different computers on a hardware, all on one computer. Despite being all on one computer, each VM has its own operating system and the hardware is then virtualized. This results in a large amount of system resources being used but results in an economical advantage as opposed to running individual computers.

Benefits of VMs

Companies who have undergone or plan to execute a digital transformation need to visualize their server in order to operate to full potential. From cloud computing services to virtualization technology, VMs allow companies of all sizes to increase efficiencies while lowering costs by embracing VMs.

Additional benefits of embracing VMs in your IT infrastructure include:

  • Ability to establish management tools
  • All operating system resources are available to applications
  • Ability to establish security tools
  • Familiar security controls

What are Containers

Containers are a growing trend within the computing industry. Instead of virtualizing the computing systems within a computer, containers only virtualize the operating system. Each container shares the binaries, libraries and host OS kernel, all of which are read-only. This immediately reduces the amount of system resources that are used. In essence, you’re able to get more out of your operations, by using less.

Benefits of Containers

Sharing operating resources, such as the ones mentioned previously, decreases the need to recreate the OS code. This allows for a server to run various workloads all with one single installation, resulting in time and money saved. Containers can also be used to create portable and consistent environments for development, testing, and deployment.

Since containers share the OS system, they are significantly lighter than VMs and take only a couple of seconds to boot up.

Additional benefits of embracing containers in your IT infrastructure include:

  • Reduced size
  • Decreased IT management resources
  • Faster start-up
  • Simplified security updates
  • Less coding is required to transfer, migrate and upload workloads

What are the Major Differences Between VMs and Containers

VMs notoriously take up a large volume of system resources, which is one of the major differences between VMs and Containers. Since each VM operates on its own operating system, it quickly takes up a lot of RAM and CPU cycles.  Containers, on the other hand, only virtualize the operating system, making them exceptionally light and only megabytes in size. This also extends into the benefit of being able to start the computer in seconds, as opposed to several minutes when using VMs.

Here’s a quick look at the main differences between the two:

  • Containers are lighter
  • VMs have limited performance
  • VMs run in its own OS; containers share the host OS
  • VMs virtualize at a hardware-level; containers only virtualize the OS
  • Containers startup in milliseconds, compared to minutes with VMs
  • VMs take up a lot of resources; containers require less memory space
  • VMs are fully isolated due to the individualized OS

What’s the Better Choice?

VMs and containers present their own unique pros and cons to IT infrastructures.  VMs are an affordable option that may be the better choice if you’re running applications that require access to all of the operating system’s resources. They are also beneficial when you’re running several applications on servers or when you have a vast array of operating systems to manage.

Containers are typically the better and most popular choice, particularly for businesses who want to maximize the number of apps running, using minimal servers.


With Nutanix, you can easily manage your virtualization environment by hosting Docker containers in a VMs, bringing simplicity based on a “build, run, and deploy” principle. You can take advantage of container migration, streamline network and security configurations and harness persistent storage for both local registries and containers.

Here’s a quick look at the benefits of Nunatix:

  • Single, easy-to-manage virtualization
  • Built for simplicity
  • Packages applications and their possessions into flexible, highly portable virtual containers
  • Allows for container migration on VMs
  • Persistent storage for containers and local registries
  • Streamlined network
  • Security configuration

Nuntanix supports many of the most popular container platforms, such as Docker containers on AHV, as well as VMs. It’s a versatile option that is ideal for every enterprise looking for rapid deployment and scale.

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