Proxmox vs Docker: Dissecting Virtualization and Containerization Giants

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Proxmox vs Docker

There are a few big names in the virtualization world, and Proxmox is the premier of open-source virtualization. The hypervisor runs a fully-featured Linux platform besides its virtualization technology. Most importantly, it’s free, open-source, and supports full virtualization and containerization.

Docker, on the other hand, only supports containerization. It packages software into containers, allowing you to build, test, and deploy applications faster. Instead of virtualizing the hardware, containers virtualize the OS, making everything faster and more efficient.

So, which is the best solution for you? We’ll have to consider your software needs and use cases for each. In this article, we offer an in-depth comparison between Proxmox container vs Docker, focusing on unique features, use cases, and benefits they offer.

Table of Content

  1. What Is Proxmox
  2. What Is Docker?
  3. Key Features of Proxmox
  4. Key Features of Docker
  5. Who is Proxmox Ideal For
  6. Who is Docker Ideal For?
  7. Conclusion
  8. FAQs

What Is Proxmox?

Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE) is a type-1 hypervisor that can host many large virtual machines. It runs on a user’s hardware with a Debian-based Linux OS distribution.

The open-source virtualization platform supports two technologies: Kernel-based Virtual Machines (KVM) and Linux Containers (LXC). It’s free, operating on a single web-based interface that integrates tools for configuring high availability between servers, storage, and networking.

Proxmox: Pros vs. Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Proxmox vs Docker, sometimes comparing the two server virtualization management solutions.


  • Better backups: Proxmox provides a backup server capable of backing up virtual machines, containers, and physical machines. The backup tools are fully integrated into the platform, so you can back up and restore items using the same interface.
  • Free and open-source: Proxmox is open-source and free to use. It doesn’t need licensing fees to own, and you can delve into the code to troubleshoot and fix issues that occur.
  • High availability: Proxmox enables you to create highly available virtual servers on various platforms. If a VM is configured as HA and the physical host fails, the VM will restart automatically on one of the remaining VE cluster nodes.
  • Easy management with web-based UI: Proxmox is easy to manage. It comes with a web-based UI that makes managing systems easy and pain-free. It offers an approachable learning curve, beating larger server virtualization solutions.
  • Flexibility: Proxmox offers flexibility by combining two virtualization technologies on a single platform. There are no limits to how you can use the server. You can store VMs on one or several storage devices or Network File Sharing systems.


  • Lack of Enterprise Support: You can’t access enterprise support without a subscription plan. However, you can still request help through their forum and access enterprise documentation.
  • Automation tools: If you like automation tools for virtual machines, use third-party Proxmox providers.

Use Cases

Proxmox enabled users to manage virtual machines and containers through a unified platform. This allowed the application of Proxmox vs Docker for different uses, including:

  • Virtualization: Proxmox is primarily designed for virtualization. It can help you create and manage VMs on a host server without operating different machines. You can use it to consolidate physical infrastructure into virtual machines, saving costs and increasing efficiency.
  • High availability: Proxmox allows you to configure highly available virtual machines and containers. It reduces downtime by replacing servers immediately if there’s an issue. If one physical host server fails, the workload will automatically transfer to another server.
  • Disaster recovery: Proxmox can help you easily create and manage VMs and containers’ backups. It comes with tools for disaster recovery, restoring data from backups, and migrating virtual machines from other hosts. You can create a full or incremental backup or replicate a VM to a secondary data center.
  • DevOps: The hypervisor can help you create a testing environment for apps in development. Creating and deploying VMs and containers with different OSs and resources is easy. This creates an isolated environment for testing.
  • Private cloud: Proxmox is great for private cloud infrastructure management in large enterprises. It allows companies to create virtual machines and containers on-demand for their users to enhance security and control their data.

What Is Docker?

Docker is an open-source platform that uses OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers. The company offers free and premium tiers to help simplify the development and delivery of applications.

Docker wasn’t the first of its kind – Linux containers existed since the 1970s. However, Docker made it so easy to launch containers that everyone started using it. It combines application source code with OS libraries and dependencies needed to run that code in any environment.

Docker: Pros vs Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Docker vs. Proxmox VE compared.


  • Light Weight: The main advantage of containers is they don’t carry the payload for an entire OS instance or hypervisor. Docker’s containers only carry the OS processes and dependencies needed to run the code, so they’re smaller and have faster startup times.
  • Improved productivity: Applications developed using Docker can run on any OS. Compared to VMs, Proxmox vs Docker containers allow for faster and easier application deployment, testing, and development. Developers don’t need to write code severally to test their performance.
  • Faster to start: Compared to VMs, Docker containers are faster to deploy, restart, and provide to developers. This makes them ideal for continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline (CI/CD) usage. You can use them to develop more Agile DevOps practices.
  • Greater Efficiency: With containers, developers can create and run many copies of an application on the same hardware. They don’t need VMs to run the same application, reducing your cloud spending.
  • Application isolation: Docker containers are self-contained, including all tools your application requires. As you progress through the development lifecycle, you become confident. You’ll test your app and see how it performs on your users’ devices.


  • Challenging to manage: Docker has a higher learning curve than Proxmox and can be challenging for beginners to set up and manage. If containers aren’t well configured and managed, they might cause performance issues.
  • Requires additional resources: Docker may require additional resources to run, which might impact the cost and performance of the system. For instance, it doesn’t come with tools for application monitoring.

Use Cases

  • Simplifying Configuration: With Docker, you can build and run any platform with unique configurations on any infrastructure. You can use it on Windows, Linux, Mac, and Proxmox VMs. You need an overhead VM to run it.
  • Code Pipeline Management: Docker is so simple to manage and configure that it impacts your code pipeline. As the code transitions from the developer to testing and production, it has to go through different environments, each with minimal changes. Docker cuts the journey by a mile.
  • Server Consolidation: Docker’s isolation capabilities allow you to consolidate multiple servers on a container, saving costs and memory usage. Most apps require minimal resources, so Docker ensures they share unused space across instances.
  • Debugging Capabilities: Although most Docker tools may not be specific to containers, they play a significant role in fixing an application. It allows checkpoint containers and container versions to differentiate between two containers.
  • Multi-tenancy: You can use Docker to host multi-tenant applications, avoiding code rewrites. It allows you to create multiple instances of an app with tiers for each tenant. It’s also easy to use an API to spin up containers pragmatically.

Key Features of Proxmox

Proxmox is a powerful open-source server virtualization tool for managing virtual machines and Linux containers. It comes with built-in tools to help you configure high-available servers, storage, and networks.

Key Feature Description

VM Management

Enables you to run several applications in VMs on a single system, saving power and reducing costs.


Container Management

Allows users to create and manage application or system containers with a powerful API and simple tools.

Backup and Restore

Users can easily start their backup process using the GUI or command line.



Tracks the health, performance, and utilization of resources for applications running on VMs and containers.

Web-Based Interface

Has an easy-to-use web-based interface where users can manage all tasks.

Here are the key features you’ll find on Proxmox vs Docker:

VM Management

Proxmox Kernel-based virtual machines (KVMs) are among the leading virtual machine technology platforms for virtualization. They can run Windows and Linux, where each VM has private virtualized resources: a network card, disk, graphics, and more.

Proxmox enables you to run several applications in VMs on a single system, saving power and reducing costs. It also allows you to build agile and scalable data centers to meet your business demands.

Users get a flexible and robust environment for creating, configuring, and managing VMs. They can use Proxmox to deploy virtual machines, define configurations, and allocate resources to their platform. The platform supports many guest operating systems, allowing users to deploy various apps on their VMs.

Proxmox offers advanced features such as live migration and high availability, helping you ensure seamless operations, resource optimization, and minimal downtime.

Container Management

A container is a lightweight alternative to VMs as it shares the host system’s kernel. It can run multiple isolated containers on a single Linux VM, working as a userspace for accessing Linux containment features.

Proxmox container vs. Docker allows users to create and manage application or system containers with a powerful API and simple tools. Its container management features provide a streamlined approach to creating, orchestrating, and managing containers.

The company allows administrators to launch containers, manage networks, and define resource limits effortlessly. This flexibility makes it easy for organizations to leverage VMs and containers, accommodating diverse applications and optimizing resource requirements.

Backup and Restore

Any sensible IT environment must have a backup and restore solution. Proxmox offers a fully integrated backup solution, considering the capabilities of each storage and guest system type.

Users can easily start their backup process using the GUI or command line. These are full backups containing all data regarding VMs. The integrated backup and restore tool creates snapshots of running VMs, creating an archive of the data, including configuration files.

Although the in-built backup solution is a great option, it only supports VM backups, not containers. To backup containers and VMs on Proxmox, you only need to access the Promox web interface, select a node and backup option, and start the process. The process of restoring is similarly easy.


Proxmox Monitoring tracks the health, performance, and utilization of resources for applications running on VMs and containers. On Proxmox vs Docker, you must include nodes and clusters to monitor your IT infrastructure. Docker uses several built-in tools like Docker Logs, Attach, Events, and third-party tools to monitor resources.

Proxmox integrates powerful tools to observe virtualized infrastructure. These features allow administrators to track the performance and health of VMs, network components, and hosts.

With real-time CPU, memory, network, and storage monitoring, users can quickly manage and respond to potential issues. Administrators can optimize resource allocation, identifying bottlenecks and ensuring optimal performance across the virtualized environments.

Web-Based Interface

Proxmox VE comes with an easy-to-use web-based interface where users can manage all tasks; there’s no need for a separate management tool. The platform is based on the ExtJS JavaScript framework, providing an extensive overview of each node’s task history and system logs.

Users can easily configure network resources, assign VLAN tags, and configure IP addresses using the web-based interface. It includes backup tasks, storage, live migration, and HA-triggered activities.

Key Features of Docker

Docker containers have everything you need to develop, test, and deploy apps at scale.

Key Features Description

Application Isolation

Separates a program or application stack from the rest of the running applications.

Increase Productivity

Allows developers to rapidly and easily set up the system, input codes easily and fast, and collaborate.



Can be used to create and deploy a cluster of Docker nodes, each containing a Docker daemon, and all daemons interact with the same API.

Quick & Easy Configuration

Allows you to deploy code faster and with less effort.

Routing Mesh

Facilitates load balancing and dynamic traffic routing, improving efficiency and scalability.



They provide higher abstraction, simplifying the development and management of complex applications.

Security Management

Offers features like user authentication, role-based access control, and encrypted communication.

Some helpful features you’ll find on Proxmox vs Docker include:

Application Isolation

Docker application insolation separates a program or application stack from the rest of the running applications. Using containers, Docker provides high-level application isolation, preventing apps from interacting or affecting each other.

This is designed to make the system more stable and secure, running multiple applications on a single host. Since Docker containers are lightweight, the platform is scalable, allowing dynamic management of workloads and scaling business needs.

Docker provides an intuitive command-line interface for creating, managing, and deploying containers. It also comes with various tools and integrations for different development environments.

Increase Productivity

One of the most significant features of Docker is the ability to increase productivity in application development. It allows developers to rapidly and easily set up the system, input codes easily and fast, and collaborate.

Since Docker can be utilized in various places, the infrastructure isn’t related to the app environment. The containers share an OS and only include the necessary dependencies for building applications, making them smaller. This makes them faster to deploy and ideal for building applications in various environments.

Docker can shorten the time required to write code, making it possible to develop and test on the same platform. The containers can be easily moved to the cloud, servers, and local development environments. This makes them ideal for faster development, reproducibility, and scalability.


Docker Swarm is a scheduling and clustering tool for docker containers. It uses Docker API to help you use various tools to control it. You can use it to create and deploy a cluster of Docker nodes, each containing a Docker daemon, and all daemons interact with the same API.

Docker Swarm helps you control the cluster of Docker hosts using a single virtual host. It’s self-organizing, making it helpful in enabling pluggable backends. Key benefits of Swarm include load balancing, fault tolerance, and high availability.

All Docker nodes interact in an ingress routing mesh. The routing mesh enables nodes in a Swarm to accept connections for any service running in the Swarm. This helps to simplify service discovery and communication between containers.

Quick and Easy Configuration

Docker helps you to configure and manage the system easily and faster. In Proxmox, you must configure CPU and memory for each VM you create. However, on Docker, the system selects CPU resources based on the required core value.

This allows you to deploy code faster and with less effort. Since Docker can be used for various environments, the infrastructure requirements aren’t linked to the application environment. Memory can be assigned for the new container automatically.

Routing Mesh

Routing mesh networks play a vital role in managing and orchestrating containers in a cluster. Several ways exist to set up a routing mesh network on Proxmox VE. You could use a routed, RSTP, and broadcast network. Each requires some effort and time to configure.

In docker containers, routing mesh facilitates load balancing and dynamic traffic routing, improving efficiency and scalability. It plays a critical role in managing and optimizing the flow of requests among containers.

Routing mesh significantly enhances network efficiency within a docker container cluster. It helps optimize resource allocation, improve high availability, and reduce downtime.


Docker Services are the fundamental abstractions that enable you to orchestrate and deploy containerized applications at scale. They’re a crucial component of Docker swarm mode, which provides tools for managing and creating services.

A service represents a single application or unit of work that can be replicated and distributed across a network. It encapsulates the configuration details of containers, including the number of replicas, network settings, and environment variables.

Docker services are critical in container management as they provide higher abstraction, simplifying the development and management of complex applications. You can efficiently host multiple applications on a single container host using Docker containers.

Security Management

Proxmox and Docker offer robust security management features to protect applications against breaches. Proxmox vs Docker provides features like user authentication, role-based access control, and encrypted communication. Docker implements security through isolation and namespaces.

Security in container management is paramount due to the shared nature of containers. Isolating applications doesn’t guarantee system security. These platforms address this concern by offering security features to protect against breaches.

They support compliance in security frameworks essential in ensuring organizations handle sensitive data and operate in regulated fields. Proxmox emphasizes security through features like role-based access control, fine-grained permissions, and two-factor authentication.

Docker’s security arsenal includes container health management, virtualization, image scanning features with vulnerability detection, user namespace and remapping, and read-only file systems to minimize risk.

Who is Proxmox Ideal For?

Proxmox caters to users seeking a unified platform to manage VMs and containers. It’s well-suited for DevOps, IT administrators, cloud service providers, and small- to medium-sized businesses.

Proxmox vs Docker enables you to deploy and manage VMs and containers on a single platform, streamlining operations and reducing administrative complexity. This is invaluable to companies seeking to leverage containerization while maintaining traditional VMs for specific tasks.

The company features a variety of use cases, making it appealing to IT professionals and DevOps teams. Attractive features on the platform include virtualization and containerization technology, backup and restore, and open source and community support.

Who is Docker Ideal For?

Docker mostly appeals to developers, DevOps teams, system administrators, and IT professionals. It has become the de facto standard for development due to its easy-to-use user interface, extensive documentation, and significant community support.

The platform’s strengths lie in its capability to create and manage distributed applications. It packages applications and their dependencies into containers, which enable consistent deployment and execution across different servers.

This makes it well-suited for building and managing complex, multi-tiered applications with different component requirements. It simplifies application development, scaling, and management.


There are few big names in the virtualization world, and the conversion is typically interesting when we delve deeper into Docker vs. Proxmox. Proxmox is the premier of virtualization, while Docker helps developers create containers for building, testing, and launching applications faster.

Proxmox and Docker offer distinct advantages and features, making them suitable for different application usage. Proxmox excels in virtualization and container integration, while Docker offers lightweight containerization, facilitating rapid deployment and scalability. Compared to VMs, containers only carry dependencies and processes required to run code, making them more efficient and faster.

Docker’s rising popularity today signifies a global shift towards containerization. It’s transforming the landscape and attracting a burgeoning community seeking agile solutions. The platform is great for modern application development, challenging traditional VM paradigms.

However, Proxmox remains a significant brand in the virtualization world. Since it’s free and open-source, finding resources and guides to fix any issue is easy. Now that you know all about Proxmox vs Docker, you can also use Proxmox to host Docker containers, making it difficult to choose between Proxmox and Docker. You might find it more convenient to use both.

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Redswitches recognizes the significance of containerization for modern app development. We offer hosting solutions that support scalable deployments and network configurations for efficient container orchestration. Our solutions allow you to take full advantage of Docker benefits.

RedSwitches hosting solutions are capable of supporting Proxmox vs Docker environments. Whether you want to leverage VMs or containerization, our solutions are the most suitable for your application development.


Q-1) Is Proxmox better than Docker?

It depends on your use case. Proxmox and Docker offer distinct features and strengths. Proxmox vs Docker is a robust virtualization platform for running VMs and Linux containers, while Docker is for containerizing applications. In fact, in some cases, you can use both together.

Q-2) Does Proxmox use Docker?

No. Proxmox and Docker are separate technologies. However, they might complement each other in some instances. While Proxmox doesn’t inherently use Docker, you can use it as its core technology. Proxmox can host docker containers for microservices and applications.

Q-3) Why use Docker on Proxmox?

You might want to run traditional applications on Proxmox while using Docker to run application containers. For specific applications that need full operating systems, you can run Proxmox vs Docker. However, if you need portable applications and microservices, you can run Docker on Proxmox.

Q-4) Can Proxmox do containers?

Yes. Proxmox supports containerization through a technology called Linux Containers. You can create, manage, and deploy containers within the Proxmox environment.

Q-5) Which OS is better for Docker?

The best OS for Docker depends on your use case. It’s platform agnostic, meaning it can run on various operating systems. The most popular options include Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

Q-6) Which OS is better for Proxmox?

It’s best to use Proxmox on Bare Metal servers rather than an operating system. That’s because it’s a customized Linux distribution with its custom OS distribution.

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