ansible vs docker: differences you should know 2021

Nowadays, there is viral gossip and chatter about containers like Ansible and Docker. The IT world is getting a massive impetus of running applications in containers instead of Virtual Machines.

In the past ten years, containers have become more popular and trendy than ever before.

Ansible and Docker are both configuration management and automation tools that are very similar in functions. Still, people search for their differences. The reason is pretty simple.

Both devices are mastered in clean deployment processes and can work efficiently together. Still, they have a bit of difference among them. 

Here in this article, we will give you a glance at their significant differences and critical features. You will be well versed in both these automation tools after going through this informative article.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started. 

How Ansible is different from Docker?

For having a detailed comparison of Docker and Ansible, we have to dive deep into both of them one by one. Also, we have to know their major features to decide which one is more efficient. Let’s start with Ansible. 

What is Ansible?

Ansible is an open-source and free platform used as an automation tool. It is used in major IT tasks such as application deployment, configuration management, provisioning, and IT automation. 

Here are some excellent characteristics of Ansible

  • Ansible is multi-functional software that provides simple automation for computer support. 
  • It is capable of setting up different needed servers for infrastructure.
  • It gives you a reliable and consistent way to ensure that either your system is at your desired state or not. Hence it is conducive.
  • Ansible is engineered to configure a whole network, not only just one computer. 
  • It is a tool that can be used after a six months long break, and still, it remains the same. 
  • It allows users to control complex deployment and security management.

Features and capabilities of Ansible:

Following are some functions of Ansible:

Configuration management

It is designed for very reliable and valid configuration management. The configuration management of Ansible is a simple description of data infrastructure.

Hence, it is apt to uphold all the product performances’ consistency, and it helps update the related information and products and their up gradations to a new version. 

Example of Ansible configuration management:

If you need to install an updated version of any software, certain things must be done. You have to install it on all the virtual machines and manually.

It seems to be very odd and tiring. Don’t worry; Ansible is there to configure this task for you.

Reliable Orchestration:

Orchestration means putting different elements into a consecutive operation.

Ansible helps in modified orchestration by managing multiple configurations smoothly. It can bring an exemplary sequence of numerous chores, including setups of data, applications, and infrastructures.

Competent Application deployment:

Ansible can deploy your applications from A to Z. You need not be worried about your application’s deployment if you are using Ansible for this purpose.

It can effectively manage your App from the time of development to that of production.


Flexible with varied options:

 Ansible is happily adaptable and flexible. With the help of Ansible, you can orchestrate the environment of your application. 

Free tool:

Ansible is a free and open-source tool. It has very robust and adaptable coding skills.

Highly Efficient:

 Ansible is very efficient because you don’t need to install firewall ports or any other software on clients’ systems. You do not need to set up a separate infrastructure for managing your storage or an entire system.


Ansible is entirely agentless. Using Ansible, you do not need to install any other software on the system, which is automated. 


Ansible is very simple to use and set up. It is not rocket science to understand and doesn’t require any extra coding skills to get started with.


  • Lack of UI, purely console based application. Recently started supporting UI with AWX. Not a best UI support, most of the time its out of sync.
  • Windows powershell support is something new for Ansible and not mature. Still required Linux control machine for SSH to manage windows Host.
  • Most of it is console based, sometimes it is challenging to install for noobs.

What is Docker?

Docker is a technological platform that enables creating, running, deploying, and managing applications with containers’ help. 

It uses many Linux kernels features, for example, groups, App armor sandbox process, etc. Another fantastic feature is that its layout facilitates its users to build applications in or out of the cloud.

Some biggest and well-known companies like PayPal, Pinterest, Spotify, and Twitter, use Docker.

In short, Docker is a great platform that is used to develop and run applications on the same operating system. Docker enables users to separate structures and applications.

Also, it allows users to manage, pile up and distribute various applications within containers.

Features of Docker:

Some essential features of Docker are as follows:-


Docker has increased productivity by the technical configuration and deployment of the application. Docker helps to execute the application in an isolated environment.


Docker gives services. Services mean a list of tasks that specify the container’s state.


Docker routes the incoming requests for ports available on nodes. It enables a stable connection if there is no task running even.

Time saver:

The difference of time for writing code and then running it for production can be reduced with the Docker method’s help. Docker methods are used for quick testing, shipping, and deployment codes.

Docker Swarm:

A swarm is a scheduling tool for Docker. Swarm uses API at the front end, which helps to use many tools for controlling. Swarm controls a cluster of tasks as a single host. 

Management of security:

Docker allows to save secrets by itself and then give solutions to many problems. It also includes some commands like secret creation, and remote inspection, etc.

Software delivery:

 With the help of containers, software delivery is considered to be now more efficient. Also, Docker containers have isolated disk volume and are very portable. 

Scaling of systems:

 The containers require significantly less hardware computing and give more work done. Containers also allow the data operators to overcome workload into small or more petite hardware sharing, which decreases their costs.


  • Docker is light weighted and portable. 
  • Docker has increased productivity and testability.
  • Docker has rapid integration and build-ups.


  • Docker has unreliable networking. 
  • Docker’s new versions have some broken features.

Overall key differences between Ansible and Docker:

  • Docker is a containerization technology that allows its users to run an application separately from a host OS. At the same time, Ansible is responsible for configuration management and deployment of applications.
  • Ansible is somehow tricky to learn while Docker is easy to interpret and understand.
  • Ansible involves python programming, while Docker uses Go programming. 
  • Ansible has to operate and install various programs one by one, while Docker has to configure security and hosting.
  • Ansible is built on “jinja,” which is a templating system.• It has a range of features like variables, loops, filters, etc. While Dockers has comparatively fewer features. 
  • Ansible is the best tool for front-end developers where programming is required, while Docker has multiple components for controlling and managing various systems. 
  • Docker is pretty simple to install and use, while Ansible is somehow complicated but not that much. 
  • Ansible needs a Linux Control Machine while Docker is supported by Windows 10 and Window server 2016.

Bottom line:

So, in the end, we must conclude by saying that Ansible is the general-purpose tool that can handle many operations and have solutions that are very effective and portable. Docker is, on the other hand, an excellent automation container. 

With the help of Ansible, you can write a single node, and hence it is used to provide excellent service for saving time and efforts. 

You can choose the software that you find super-efficient. Also, you can analyze their features by using them personally or giving them a try one by one or together. 

Experts say that you must use them together to double up their efficiency. 

Let us know which software won your heart. 

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