Docker Vs Heroku: What's the Difference Between Both Container Solutions?

Docker Vs Heroku: What’s the Difference Between Both Container Solutions?

docker vs. heroku: what's the difference between both container solutions itechnolabs

Containerization is becoming extremely prevalent among app developers today. A container that abstracts away the app code and its dependencies from the host OS and has little access to the resources, allowing it to function on multiple types of structures without reworking it for each environment. Containers’ inherent flexibility and improved efficiency are advantageous in packaging services in contemporary programs. If you’re an app developer searching for a container-based app development framework, you’ve probably come across Docker Vs Heroku.

Both Heroku and Docker enable developers to create, deploy, and operate apps within containers. Docker and Heroku may have similar principles, but they are not the same: Docker is an open-source software program, whereas Heroku is a commercialized service provider. Docker may be downloaded, built, and installed on your laptop, or you can join its online community.

On Heroku, you can establish a user account, spend some money, and receive excellent service and hosting experience for your apps and code. Docker and Heroku are not the same things. However, some of their essential principles have certain commonalities.

This article discusses the various features, advantages and disadvantages, and differences between Docker Vs Heroku. This article will help you make the right choice for a container solution per your needs.

What is a Container? A Container System Usually Includes


A container is a typical software package that combines an application’s code with the necessary configuration files and libraries and the condition to ensure the app executes. This enables developers and IT professionals to deploy apps across environments in a seamless manner.

  • The container engine, Docker or Heroku, is a managed environment for deploying containerized apps in this scenario. The container engine is in charge of managing the core and memory. It also controls spatial isolation and security for specific applications and allows for scalability.
  • Host operating system: The host operating system (often Linux) manages resources such as memory, offers a user interface, and runs and serves applications.
  • CPU: It is also known as the Central Processing Unit and is in charge of carrying out all tasks depending on commands from the operating system and applications.

What is Docker?

what is docker itechnolabs

Docker is a container-based corporate app development framework that helps developers design, manage, test, and grow programs in separate containers. Each container has a copy of the code, configuration files, and libraries and runs separately.

Docker is an open-source software platform that enables you to execute your program almost anywhere. DevOps commonly use containerization solutions such as Docker to deliver programs more consistently and reliably.

What are the Features of Docker:

what are the features of docker itechnolabs

  • Universality

Docker containers are self-contained, including all software requirements and runtimes and libraries. As a result, they are very portable, which eliminates the problem of configuration variables. Your code will operate on the cloud like it did on your production computer.

  • Networking defined by software

Docker allows operators to construct systems with complicated network topologies and define isolated networks to improve network monitoring and performance by separating the network control layer from the forwarding plane.

  • Swarm

Swarm, a grouping and scheduling tool, leverages a Docker API at the front end to allow developers to operate a cluster of Docker servers as a single virtual host.

It is a self-organizing collection of engines that allows for pluggable backends. Swarm may also schedule a container instance from a list of services defined within a cluster.

What is Heroku?

what is heroku itechnolabs

Heroku is a popular solution for building, deploying, monitoring, and scaling web apps and APIs using an effortless and straightforward developer experience.

It is one of the earliest cloud computing systems built on the container architecture, providing developers with a fully structured manner for developing and running dynamic cloud applications.

Heroku containers are known as dynos, and they hold a duplicate of the app code and its dependencies. These dynos are intended to run code in response to a user-specified command. Your app may grow to any number of dynos dependent on the resources demanded by incoming traffic.

Heroku essentially gives you a straightforward method to control the number, size, and kind of dynos your app needs at any given time.

What are the Features of Heroku?

what are the features of heroku itechnolabs

  • Heroku Developer Experience (DX)

Developers can use Heroku DX to focus on designing and delivering apps rapidly and consistently, rather than worrying about provisioning resources or maintaining infrastructure. You may deploy code straight from Git, GitHub, or CI repositories.

  • Ecosystems and Data Services

With Heroku Elements, you can access various add-ons and buildpacks to extend the application’s functionality and personalize the app stack. You may readily add logging, data monitoring, alerts, storage, and other functions.

  • Operational Experience with Heroku (OpEx)

OpEx assists testers and developers in resolving common issues and fixing any negative trends in the health of their software.

You will have access to a set of tools that will notify you when something goes wrong and automatically scale web dynos when response times exceed a certain threshold.

Infrastructural Differences

infrastructural differences itechnolabs

  • BuildPack vs. Dockerfile

You may use a Dockerfile to create Docker images. A Dockerfile is a collection of commands, such as those used to add files and directories or install packages. It specifies how the final image should appear when you run it.

Heroku’s pendants are known as BuildPacks. BuildPacks are also a collection of scripts used to configure an image’s final state. Heroku includes a few default BuildPacks, such as those for Java, Python, and Play! Framework. You may, however, create your own.

  • Slug vs. Image

When you execute a Dockerfile, a Docker image is created. This image contains all the data, files, dependencies, and settings your application requires. You may swap those images and run them immediately on any Docker system installed.

When you execute a build on Heroku, the BuildPack generates what is known as a Slug. Heroku says such slugs “are compressed and pre-packaged versions of your application.” They, like Docker images, contain all requirements and can be deployed and launched in a matter of seconds.

  • Dyno vs Container

You have a functioning container of a Docker image after launching it. You can launch an image several times to get numerous isolated containers of the same program. This allows you to create an image once and quickly launch innumerable instances.

Heroku does the same thing. After building your app with the BuildPack, you will be given a slug that you can execute on a Dyno. According to Heroku, a dyno is “a lightweight container executing a single user-specified program.”

Heroku even employs LXC for container virtualization (dynos), the same technology that Docker uses at its foundation.

  • Add-Ons vs Index

You may distribute docker images to the community. This is accomplished by submitting packages to the official Docker index. Everyone is free to download and use the photographs in this index. Most of them are well-documented and may be launched with a centralized controller. As a result, many apps may be operated as building blocks.

You may find a similar approach in Heroku’s add-on store. For your application, you may utilize a variety of pre-configured add-ons. This allows you to develop a sophisticated program using standard building components like Docker!

Key Differences Between Docker Vs Heroku

key differences between docker vs heroku itechnolabs

  • Environment

One of the most significant distinctions between Heroku and Docker is that Heroku requires to run in its cloud environment. Still, Docker may run in any environment of your choosing, including your laptop, a public cloud server like Microsoft Azure, or a remote server.

  • Flexibility

Because you may only execute Heroku apps in the Heroku environment, vendor lock-in may arise. Docker’s adaptability alleviates these worries, with deployment choices extending from on-premises servers to the Heroku PaaS itself.

  • Pricing

Docker is accessible as an open-source solution (although commercial users will likely go for the enterprise edition, which costs a bit). Meanwhile, with Heroku’s regular account, each dyno costs around $25 and $50 per month.

Are You looking for Cloud based Solutions?

are you looking for cloud based solutions itechnolabs


Heroku and Docker are both good containerization choices. They can execute programs written in several programming languages such as Java, Ruby, PHP, and others. They also provide simple scalability and deployment.

The main distinction between Heroku and Docker is in how they are implemented. Both Heroku and Docker use containers, and Heroku delivers the container as part of its own Heroku deployment workflow. Because the whole package, container, and environment is already configured for you, Heroku is straightforward to set up. Heroku is ideal for inexperienced developers or small businesses looking to launch applications in a controlled environment without the headache of extensive settings.

On the other hand, Docker offers a containerization approach to operate on a broad range of platforms, including in-house servers, private clouds, AWS, and even inside a Heroku environment. As a result, as compared to Heroku, Docker is significantly more versatile in deployment. This flexibility, however, comes with a more complicated deployment procedure.

Docker is thus better suited to businesses with more stringent setup requirements, and greater flexibility comes with a higher level of complexity. Whereas Heroku is ready to use right away, Docker takes extra configuration based on your needs.

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