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Vagrant vs Docker: A Comprehensive Comparison for Beginners

Vagrant and Docker both set up the tools that cloud-native deployments need, but they focus on distinct components of the deployment stack. Vagrant is used by developers to provision virtual machines (VMs) on which a Linux container can run. Docker is itself a container that can be installed on any of these VMs that have been built by Vagrant. Vagrant is a container management tool.

Vagrant is a machine provisioning tool used to generate virtual machines and then fill them with applications, and Docker is a platform for developing and running Linux containers. In other words, you will use Vagrant to create a virtual machine (VM), after which you will install Docker. These are some of the differences between Vagrant and Docker. So in this blog, we are going to cover several points that tell the differences between Vagrant vs Docker and analyze which one is better. Prior to that, let’s look at what Docker vs Vagrant means.

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Understanding Docker

Docker is an element that enables users to design and manage containerized applications. A container is a grouping of one or more processes that are isolated from the other processes that are running within a computing environment. These processes are organized under a single name and identifier, and they share a common name. A virtual machine (VM) or a physical computer could serve as this computing environment.

The client command-line interface (CLI) tool and the container runtime are the two primary elements that make up the Docker technology. At the command line, you can use the CLI tool to provide instructions to the Docker runtime to be executed. The Docker runtime is responsible for the creation of containers as well as the subsequent execution of those containers on the operating system.

Docker relies heavily on two primary assets that are crucial to container technology. One of them is called the container image. The other item is an actual container. A container is created from a template known as an image of a container.

A container does not have a distinct existence apart from the operating system in which it is contained. Therefore, in order for a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) process to be automated and for Docker to function properly, a physical or virtual computer that is running an operating system is required. In addition to that, the Docker runtime and daemon must already be installed on that machine. Vagrant is going to come into play at this point.

Understanding Vagrant

If you want to enable CI/CD in an automated deployment environment, you need a mechanism to run scripts that construct virtual machines (VMs), and then you need a way to populate those VMs with an operating system and any other programs that are necessary to serve the purpose of the VMs. Utilizing a provisioning tool is the method by which this can be accomplished. Vagrant is one of these tools, but Ansible and Terraform are two others that can do the same thing.

Vagrant includes a provisioning script that is referred to as Vagrantfile. The following is an example of a Vagrantfile:

#-*- mode: ruby *-
#vi: set ft=ruby:
Vagrant.configure(2) do |config| = "generic/ubuntu1904"
#Install Docker
config.vm.provision :docker

To run a Vagrantfile script, you use the following command:

vagrant up

When you run this command, Vagrant will, by default, search the current directory for a file called Vagrantfile and then execute the instructions that are contained in that file. In most cases, the instructions will involve the steps of creating one or more virtual machines (VMs), installing an operating system on the machines, and then adding the other software that is necessary, such as the Docker components.

Also Read: Our blog post on docker inspect

Vagrant vs. Docker: Let’s Understand

Vagrant is a program that focuses on delivering a stable and uniform workflow for development environments across a variety of operating systems. Docker is a container management system that, so long as a containerization system is in existence, can reliably run software.

Since containers are typically much lighter than virtual machines, starting and stopping containers is a very quick process. Docker takes advantage of the operating system’s built-in capabilities for containerization on macOS, Linux, and Windows.

At the moment, Docker does not provide support for a number of operating systems, including BSD. Docker will not give the same level of production parity as a solution such as Vagrant in the event that your target deployment is going to be one of these operating systems. Using Vagrant, you will be able to operate a Windows development environment on a Mac or Linux computer as well.

Docker is an appealing option for systems that rely significantly on microservices since it enables the user to easily establish a single Docker VM and then start numerous containers on top of it very quickly. This is an excellent way to utilize Docker. Vagrant can also do this with the Docker service. A consistent workflow is one of the key advantages provided by Vagrant, but there are many situations in which it would be more appropriate to use Docker instead.

Both Vagrant and Docker provide access to a huge database of “images” and “boxes” that have been compiled by members of the community.

Check Out: Our blog post on docker vs vm

Vagrant vs Docker – Main Differences

Vagrant gives you a secure location to run your app (like a virtual machine) that you can use again and again. When you run your code in a certain setting, it should act in a certain way.

Docker lets you make images that contain your project code. With Docker images, you can make a workspace that you can take with you and use anywhere. Docker lets you run your app, and your app will always work if you do.

You can run your apps on whole virtual machines with Vagrant, and you can control containers that run on top of a virtual machine with Docker.

Vagrant vs Docker for Development

When it comes to making software, “it matters” is usually the answer to “which is better.” This is also true for Vagrant vs Docker. The best way to decide which to use is to compare their pros and cons and pick the one that will help your project the most.

Setting Up – Vagrant vs Docker

It is much easier to set up a Vagrant working environment and workflow than it is to set up Docker. Additionally, it’s simpler to understand.

Vagrant might be the best choice for you if all you need is a way to set up and setup a virtual machine and don’t care much about RAM, startup times, or working with other people (for example, to install WordPress).

Collaboration – Vagrant vs Docker

Docker particularly shines when it comes to collaborative work. You could say that Docker performs the same function for containers as GitHub does for the management of source code. Docker Hub is analogous to GitHub in that it hosts Docker image files.

After you have created an image, you are able to upload it to your personal repository on Docker Hub. Now, anyone may pull that container and run your containerized application anywhere, complete with all of its surroundings. All that is required of you is to have Docker running. It’s simply Amazing!

Resource Isolation – Vagrant vs Docker

Docker containers may behave somewhat like environments associated with virtual machines, but in reality, they are not. Docker containers use the same operating system and kernel to operate and share their processes. That indicates that they are fully divorced from one another from a logical standpoint.

That is a completely unacceptable response for several applications. In circumstances like this, Vagrant is going to be the superior choice. If you are unsure as to whether or not it will be a problem, then there is probably no need for you to worry about it.

Resources and Startup Times – Vagrant vs Docker

Docker is founded on container technology, which is fundamentally superior to virtual machines in terms of its speed and resource requirements. The creation of containers takes milliseconds rather than minutes and necessitates megabytes of RAM rather than gigabytes of storage space.

Read More: About how to uninstall docker ubuntu

Docker vs Vagrant: Major differences between

Use CasesIdeal for creating reproducible development environments, especially when full virtualization is required.Suited for deploying and scaling applications in lightweight, portable containers. Great for microservices architectures.
ArchitectureFull virtualization, creating isolated VMs with their own OS instances.Containerization, sharing the host OS kernel and isolating applications in lightweight containers.
Resource EfficiencyHeavier resource footprint due to the emulation of complete OS instances.Lightweight containers with minimal resource overhead. Efficient resource utilization.
IsolationStrong isolation with separate OS instances for each VM.Process-level isolation; containers share the host OS kernel. Some level of vulnerability.
Deployment SpeedSlower startup times as VMs involve booting entire OS instances.Faster startup times; containers can start within seconds. Rapid deployment.
PortabilityPortable but heavier, encapsulating entire OS instances.Highly portable; containers can run consistently across different environments.
Learning CurveGenerally considered more straightforward, especially for those familiar with virtualization concepts.May have a steeper learning curve, especially for those new to containerization concepts.
Ecosystem and CommunityRobust community with a wealth of plugins and support for various hypervisors.Massive and active community, extensive ecosystem of pre-built images. Docker Hub for easy sharing.
PerformanceSlower performance due to the emulation of complete OS instances.Faster performance with lightweight containers. Efficient utilization of resources.
FlexibilityLess flexible due to the heavier resource footprint of VMs.More lightweight and flexible, especially in dynamic and scalable environments.
Resource OverheadHigher resource overhead due to running complete OS instances for each VM.Minimal resource overhead, maximizing efficient resource utilization.
SecurityStronger isolation, reducing the risk of security breaches between VMs.Process-level isolation with some level of vulnerability due to shared kernel.
ScalabilitySuitable for scenarios where security is paramount, but scalability may be slower.Well-suited for rapid scaling and dynamic environments. Great for microservices.

Docker is used to generate and run Linux containers, whereas Vagrant is used for providing a computer with an operating system, a Docker installation, and any other software that needs to run on the OS. This is the primary difference between the two tools. A vagrant is used to provision machines. Docker is used to create and run Linux containers.


Virtual machines are difficult to deploy and use due to their high resource requirements. On the other hand, Docker containers are an excellent addition to a workflow that is fully automated for software development. It is up to the developer to decide if the development environment should be created using Vagrant, Docker, or some other technology. Be careful to take into account things like how quickly and effectively something can be done, how secure it is, and how well it integrates with other systems.

In this blog, we discussed the major differences between Vagrant vs Docker and their features. If you want to know more differences between Vagrant vs Docker you can contact Supportfly, whose certified admins will help you to make a wise decision. SupportFly is one of the most reliable partners which can help you to solve your queries about Vagrant vs Docker . We provide the best solutions for all your needs. As we have the best and certified admins with expertise and experience of more than 5 years.