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Docker, OpenShift or Kubernetes: Which Platform to Choose for Hyperledger Fabric Network Orchestration

If you’re into Hyperledger Fabric deployment, then you’re most likely aware of the term ‘Container Orchestration’. In case you haven’t yet heard about it despite being involved in the Blockchain space, then you’re probably living under a metaphorical rock — or perhaps up in the privileged clouds.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following aspects:

First things first, let’s start with the basic overview of container orchestration. With more and more organizations adopting containers for production, the demand for container orchestration has skyrocketed in the past few years. In technical terms, container orchestration is the process of automating the deployment, management, scaling, networking, and availability of your containers, especially in large and dynamic dev environments. IT and DevOps teams around the world use this technique for multiple purposes and tasks like:

Now that you’re familiar with what container orchestration is and how enterprises around the world are using it to their advantage, let’s move further to the next part, i.e. which are the best container orchestration platforms for your specific business needs. So, without any further delay, let’s get on with it.

Three of the most popular open-source container 0rchestration platforms being widely used in production by companies worldwide are Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and OpenShift.

Now to help you decide between these main contenders, let’s review them one by one and understand their pros and cons thoroughly.

Docker Swarm

Overview: A platform used for clustering and scheduling (hosting and managing) docker containers across different host machines. While Docker orchestration tools facilitate the complete Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) from development to production, the Docker Swarm platform looks after cluster management. To top it all, Docker Swarm provides fast, scalable, and seamless production possibilities for distributed applications. It is enormously popular among the developers’ community and is ranked as the “most wanted”, “loved”, and “widely used” platform, according to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow.

Architecture: The key components of Docker Swarm architecture include Swarm, Service, Manager Node, Worker Nodes, and Task, and shown below.

Key Features:



Overview: A RedHat-backed containers platform particularly used for developing and hosting enterprise applications. To be more specific, OpenShift is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) solution that aims to help IT and DevOps professionals to effectively improve, host, and calibrate applications in a cloud setting. It shortens the application development lifecycle while allowing you to deploy the application in your preferred environment (to the cloud or your own datacenter), thereby ensuring a secure operation.

Architecture: OpenShift has a microservices-based architecture of smaller, decoupled units that work collectively. Here’s the key highlight: it runs on top of a Kubernetes cluster, with the object data being stored in etcd, i.e. a strongly consistent, distributed key-value store that provides developers with a reliable way to store data that needs to be accessed by a distributed system or cluster of machines.

Besides core Kubernetes features, OpenShift offers out of the box components for container management and orchestration.

Key Features:


Kubernetes (aka k8s)

Overview: A Google-backed open-source container orchestration platform designed particularly for automating deployments, scaling, and managing containerized applications across clusters of hosts. K8s makes it enormously easy for development teams to deploy and operate applications in a microservices architecture by creating an abstraction layer on top of a group of hosts. In the present scenario, Kubernetes has the largest customer base (almost four times of other available options) and is the most popular choice among the developers’ community, especially DevOps.

Architecture: The key components of the Kubernetes architecture include Master Node, Worker Node (Minion), Pods, Deployment, Kubelet, DaemonSet, ReplicaSet, and Service.

Key Features:


Why Kubernetes for Hyperledger Fabric Deployment?

As you might already have figured out by now that each container orchestration platform explained above comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. As far as their adoption is concerned, the competition goes down-the-wire as all these tools are being used by many organizations for their production workloads. Unless we know the exact requirements and the complexity of the application, it is oblivious to choose one over the other.

However, Kubernetes leads the race when it comes to Hyperledger Fabric deployment, thanks to its countless valuable attributes, which include:

Hyperledger Fabric gives its users the flexibility to choose their preferred database technology (LevelDB/CouchDB), type of endorsement policy they want, which organizations or enterprise-level stakeholders they would like to include in their network, number of peers for each organization, and the right to keep the network data either public or private. All of this leads to a very complex network setup which is extremely difficult to deploy on production environments.

This is where Kubernetes comes in and saves the day! Since Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source technology, there are ways to deploy complex or intricate Hyperledger Fabric networks using other open-source tools such as Kubernetes and Google Cloud. As already mentioned above, one of Kubernetes’s standout features is its compatibility with Docker containers. In case you didn’t know, Docker is used in most Hyperledger Fabric tutorials for creating and managing Hyperledger Fabric networks. Kubernetes provides a myriad of benefits that can decrease overheads and diminish complexity. Some of these include autoscaling, service discovery and load balancing, storage orchestration, service health checks, fault tolerance, secret and configuration management, automated rollouts and rollbacks, etc.


Containers are meant to be short-lived, and when it comes to container orchestration, you need to consider a plethora of factors before deciding upon a suitable platform (be it OpenShift, Docker Swarm or Kubernetes) for your organization, which include networking, high availability, ease of deployment, and good service discovery. The best part about container orchestration tools is that you can use them in any dev environment in which you can run your containers. For your understanding, containers these days can run in just about any kind of environment, be it traditional on-premise servers or public cloud instances running in AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.

As far as Kubernetes is concerned, you can effortlessly run it in Google Cloud Platform (GCP), considering its extraordinary tech support, a wide variety of tools provided, free master nodes (which allows you to only pay for worker node instances), easy upgrades, and overall affordability in comparison to other cloud providers. However, that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to using just Google Cloud for Kubernetes-based container applications; there are various other cloud service providers that you can choose from (which provide Kubernetes support) including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Digital Ocean, Microsoft Azure, etc.

If you’re looking for a suitable solution that gives you the power to securely deploy a Hyperledger Fabric network on your preferred cloud environment using Kubernetes, then look no further than our innovative Blockchain-powered enterprise network management solution “FabDep”. From multi-cloud flexibility to customized Certificate Authority to smart contracts management, out tool is jam-packed with new and exciting features to make Hyperledger Fabric deployment less cumbersome and more automated. For deeper insights into our tool, visit

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Harpreet Singh

A pioneer in Mobile, Blockchain, Managed Services, Oracle, and AI/ML Development