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12 Best Container Orchestration Software Shortlist

I've assessed the industry's best, crafting a shortlist of 12 stellar container orchestration tools and what each does best:

  1. Platform9 Managed Kubernetes - Best for users desiring a SaaS-managed experience
  2. DigitalOcean Kubernetes - Best for simplicity in container orchestration
  3. Rancher - Best for managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across various clouds
  4. OpenStack Magnum - Best for integrating container orchestration engines with OpenStack
  5. VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid - Best for providing consistent, secure Kubernetes infrastructure
  6. Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) - Best for integration with Azure services
  7. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) - Best for automated operations and scaling with Google Cloud
  8. Kubernetes - Best for wide community support and customizability
  9. Google Cloud Build - Best for continuous integration and delivery on Google Cloud
  10. Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform - Best for enterprise-level container deployment and management
  11. Google Cloud Run - Best for running stateless containers invokable via web requests
  12. Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) - Best for deep integration with AWS ecosystem

Container orchestration software is an integral part of modern-day software development, allowing teams to manage, schedule, and maintain their microservices and containerized workloads efficiently. Whether you're operating within a data center, using on-premises frameworks, or deploying applications in the public cloud, a robust container orchestration platform can simplify complex processes, streamline provisioning, and ensure the stability of your services.

As a developer who has spent considerable time wrangling with container runtimes and marathon sessions of troubleshooting, I fully understand the value that these tools bring. They provide a declarative approach to manage container images, handle automatic restarts, and assist in resource allocation, reducing the overall operational overhead.

This not only accelerates your software development process but also makes it significantly more reliable. With container orchestration, you can truly embrace the principles of cloud-native computing, whether you're working on Windows or any Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) endorsed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The benefits are evident and can address the pain points many of us face in managing containerized applications at scale. I encourage you to explore the options I've outlined and find the tool that best suits your specific needs.

What Is Container Orchestration Software?

Container orchestration software is a critical tool in the arsenal of developers, DevOps teams, and system administrators, designed to automate and manage a multitude of tasks involved in deploying and running containerized applications.

This includes but is not limited to managing application configurations, scheduling containers, scaling in and out as per demand, balancing loads across the infrastructure, ensuring network efficiency, and facilitating a system of health checks.

Leveraging these software tools, professionals can oversee thousands of containers, ensuring they function optimally within a diverse technological ecosystem. It's all about creating a streamlined, efficient, and highly adaptable system for modern application deployment and management.

Overviews of the 12 Best Container Orchestration Software

1. Platform9 Managed Kubernetes - Best for users desiring a SaaS-managed experience

Platform9 Managed Kubernetes Container Orchestration Software
With Platform9 Managed Kubernetes, users can view, build, and manage clusters across on-prem, cloud, and edge from a unified SaaS platform.

Platform9 Managed Kubernetes is a fully managed, SaaS solution designed to simplify Kubernetes deployment and operation. It offers powerful features that are particularly beneficial for those seeking a hassle-free, SaaS-managed experience, minimizing the complexities usually associated with Kubernetes.

Why I Picked Platform9 Managed Kubernetes:

I selected Platform9 Managed Kubernetes primarily for its user-friendly nature and robust SaaS features. It stood out from other tools due to its emphasis on simplifying complex Kubernetes tasks. Given its capabilities, it is an excellent choice for users desiring a SaaS-managed experience, especially those who wish to avoid getting tangled up in technicalities while still leveraging the power of Kubernetes.

Standout features & integrations:

Platform9 Managed Kubernetes boasts several significant features, including zero-touch upgrades, built-in monitoring and logging, and high availability. Furthermore, it integrates with many commonly used tools like Helm for package deployment, Prometheus for monitoring, and Grafana for data visualization.


Pricing for Platform9 Managed Kubernetes starts from $20/user/month (billed annually). This plan offers access to all the core features, including a dedicated SLA and premium support.

  • Minimum requirement of 5 seats for the starting price
  • Additional base fee of $50 per month


  • Simplifies Kubernetes deployment and operation
  • Offers zero-touch upgrades
  • Provides high availability


  • Requires a minimum of 5 seats for the starting price
  • Additional base fee required
  • Pricing information can be a bit unclear, leading to potential confusion.

2. DigitalOcean Kubernetes - Best for simplicity in container orchestration

DigitalOcean Kubernetes Container Orchestration Software
With DigitalOcean Kubernetes Build, users can deploy and scale apps quickly using a simple, fully managed solution.

DigitalOcean Kubernetes (DOKS) is a managed Kubernetes service that allows developers to deploy, update, and scale containerized applications easily. Its focus on providing a simplified user experience makes it an ideal choice for those who seek straightforward container orchestration.

Why I Picked DigitalOcean Kubernetes:

I chose DigitalOcean Kubernetes for its commitment to user-friendly simplicity and robust capabilities. Among many Kubernetes platforms, DOKS distinguishes itself with a no-nonsense, easy-to-use interface. In my opinion, it is perfectly suited for those who prioritize simplicity in container orchestration, enabling them to focus more on app development than on managing the infrastructure.

Standout features & integrations:

DOKS comes packed with vital features, including automatic updates, node health monitoring, and private container registries. It integrates well with other DigitalOcean products such as Spaces for object storage and Load Balancers for distributing traffic, thus providing a cohesive ecosystem for managing your applications.


The pricing for DigitalOcean Kubernetes begins at $10/user/month. This plan includes access to all of the primary features, such as automatic updates and monitoring.

  • Billed on an hourly basis for actual usage
  • No minimum seat requirement
  • No setup or base fee


  • Offers a straightforward, user-friendly interface
  • Automatic updates and monitoring included
  • No minimum seat requirement or setup fee


  • May lack some advanced features compared to other Kubernetes services
  • Dependent on DigitalOcean ecosystem for best integration
  • Not the cheapest option available in the market

3. Rancher - Best for managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across various clouds

Rancher Container Orchestration Software
Here is a screenshot of Rancher's cluster dashboard.

Rancher is a complete software stack for teams adopting containers that addresses the operational and security challenges of managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across different cloud providers. Given its comprehensive management capabilities, Rancher is ideally suited for those who need to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters across various cloud environments.

Why I Picked Rancher:

I picked Rancher due to its robust multi-cluster and multi-cloud Kubernetes management features. It stood apart from the others for its ability to provide a single, unified platform to manage all Kubernetes deployments, no matter where they're hosted. It's precisely these strengths that make Rancher the best tool for managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across various clouds.

Standout features & integrations:

Rancher offers impressive features such as centralized authentication, access control, and security policies across all clusters. Additionally, it integrates with tools like Helm for package deployment, Prometheus for monitoring, and Grafana for data visualization, enhancing its multi-cluster management capabilities.


The pricing for Rancher starts at $16/user/month (billed annually). This includes access to all the primary multi-cluster management features.

  • Minimum requirement of 10 seats for the starting price
  • No base fee or setup fee required


  • Robust multi-cluster and multi-cloud management capabilities
  • Centralized authentication and security policies
  • Integration with key Kubernetes tools


  • Requires a minimum of 10 seats for the starting price
  • Learning curve can be steep for beginners
  • Relatively expensive compared to other Kubernetes management platforms

4. OpenStack Magnum - Best for integrating container orchestration engines with OpenStack

OpenStack Magnum Container Orchestration Software cluster template
This screenshot of the horizon view shows the list of cluster templates for OpenStack Magnum.

OpenStack Magnum is an OpenStack API service developed to make container orchestration engines such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesos accessible as first-class resources within OpenStack. With its exceptional integration capabilities, Magnum is particularly effective for those looking to integrate container orchestration engines with OpenStack.

Why I Picked OpenStack Magnum:

I chose OpenStack Magnum because of its robust integration abilities and support for various container orchestration engines. It stands out for its commitment to making container orchestration engines like Kubernetes readily accessible within the OpenStack environment. That's why I believe Magnum is the best choice for integrating container orchestration engines with OpenStack.

Standout features & integrations:

OpenStack Magnum comes with various features, including the ability to manage container infrastructure in a multi-tenant environment and integrated networking with Neutron. The service integrates well with other OpenStack services, such as Nova for computing, Cinder for block storage, and Keystone for identity service.


OpenStack Magnum is an open-source project, and thus it does not have a user/month pricing structure. However, support services and managed solutions built on OpenStack may have varying costs. For precise pricing information, it's best to contact service providers directly.

  • Pricing upon request for managed services or support


  • Supports multiple container orchestration engines
  • Excellent integration with OpenStack
  • Facilitates management in a multi-tenant environment


  • No direct user/month pricing available
  • Can be complex to set up and manage
  • Requires familiarity with OpenStack services

5. VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid - Best for providing consistent, secure Kubernetes infrastructure

VMware Tanzu Container Orchestration Software
This is a screenshot of the VMware Tanzu clusters dashboard.

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes runtime that streamlines and standardizes the deployment of Kubernetes across multiple infrastructures. Given its emphasis on consistency and security, Tanzu is ideal for those who require a reliable, secure Kubernetes infrastructure across various environments.

Why I Picked VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid:

I selected VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid for its commitment to consistency and security across Kubernetes deployments. What makes it stand out is its complete alignment with upstream Kubernetes, which ensures constant updates and compatibility. Therefore, I believe Tanzu is best suited for users requiring a consistent and secure Kubernetes infrastructure.

Standout features & integrations:

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid offers several valuable features, including automatic cluster lifecycle management, built-in networking and security, and multi-cluster operations from a single control point. Furthermore, it integrates well with other VMware solutions, including vSphere for virtualization, NSX for networking, and vSAN for storage.


Pricing for VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid starts from $50/user/month (billed annually). This includes access to all primary features and standard support from VMware.

  • Pricing does not include any additional costs that may be associated with other VMware solutions


  • Consistency and compatibility with upstream Kubernetes
  • Built-in networking and security features
  • Integration with other VMware solutions


  • Higher cost relative to some other Kubernetes solutions
  • Might require familiarity with VMware ecosystem
  • Pricing could be more complex due to integration with other VMware products

6. Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) - Best for integration with Azure services

Microsoft Azure Container Orchestration Software
Here is a screenshot of Microsoft Azure's central dashboard.

Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a managed container orchestration service provided by Microsoft Azure. This service is particularly advantageous for users who are already leveraging Azure services as it offers integration and managed Kubernetes clusters, simplifying the deployment, management, and scaling of applications.

Why I Picked Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS):

I picked AKS due to its effortless integration with Azure services, making it a no-brainer for those already using Microsoft's cloud platform. The standout aspect is that AKS abstracts away much of the complexities of Kubernetes, allowing users to focus on deploying applications rather than managing Kubernetes itself. As such, AKS is particularly suitable for users who need a robust integration with Azure services.

Standout features & integrations:

AKS comes with developer-friendly features such as Azure Dev Spaces for collaborative development and Azure Policy for enforcing organizational standards. Azure Monitor and Azure Log Analytics are embedded for AKS observability, providing insights into performance and health. AKS is natively integrated with Azure services like Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions, and Azure Logic Apps, which can be extremely beneficial for existing Azure users.


AKS itself is a free service, you only pay for the virtual machines instances, storage, and networking resources consumed. Pricing will vary depending on the size and type of the instances used.


  • Integration with other Azure services
  • Managed Kubernetes environment, abstracting a lot of complexities
  • Integrated developer tools for smooth development and deployment


  • Costs can scale up quickly with increased usage of VM instances, storage, and networking
  • Might require familiarity with the Azure ecosystem
  • Not ideal for those not already using Azure services as they will have to navigate a new platform

7. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) - Best for automated operations and scaling with Google Cloud

Google Kubernetes Container Orchestration Software
Here is a screenshot of the Google Kubernetes Engine in the cluster creation view, the cluster basics focus on names such as hello, node locations, and Kubernetes master version.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a managed environment for deploying, managing, and scaling your applications using Google infrastructure. The environment of GKE takes away much of the management complexities of Kubernetes by automating the setup, which is why it's ideal for automated operations and scaling in harmony with Google Cloud.

Why I Picked Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE):

I chose GKE as it offers a superior level of automation, particularly in operations and scaling tasks, thanks to Google's top-tier infrastructure. Google's heritage of developing Kubernetes is also embodied in GKE, providing an excellent managed environment that stands out for its efficiency and reliability. With GKE, the intricate tasks of Kubernetes management are largely automated, making it the best option for those already in or considering the Google Cloud ecosystem.

Standout features & integrations:

GKE has a number of standout features, such as automatic scaling, multi-cluster support, and private clusters. It also boasts strong security with Google's own built-in security features. Additionally, GKE is integrated with other Google Cloud services like Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud SQL, and BigQuery, making it highly convenient for Google Cloud users.


Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model. You pay for the compute instances based on their usage. The pricing begins "From $0.033/hour per cluster" and can vary based on the type and number of instances used.


  • Deep integration with Google Cloud services
  • Strong automation for easy operations and scaling
  • Robust security features


  • Pricing can be complex and potentially high with larger usage
  • Less suitable for those not already using Google Cloud services
  • Requires understanding of Google Cloud ecosystem to fully leverage benefits

8. Kubernetes - Best for wide community support and customizability

Kubernetes Container Orchestration Software monitoring pod status
This is a screenshot of Kubernetes log lines using Kubernetes Monitoring.

Kubernetes is an open-source platform designed to automate deploying, scaling, and operating application containers. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery. Kubernetes shines when it comes to community support and customizability, making it an optimal choice for those seeking robust resources and the ability to tailor their container orchestration.

Why I Picked Kubernetes:

I chose Kubernetes for its large community and the customizability it offers. Since Kubernetes is an open-source project, it benefits from a vast and diverse community, which contributes to constant improvements and extensive support resources. Its customizability makes it stand out, as it allows you to adjust the system to your exact needs. These characteristics position Kubernetes as the best choice for those seeking extensive community resources and a customizable orchestration solution.

Standout features & integrations:

Kubernetes offers robust features such as self-healing, automatic bin packing, and service discovery & load balancing. It also supports a broad range of storage systems, giving you the flexibility to run your applications using your preferred storage system. Kubernetes can also integrate with many CI/CD software, cloud providers, and configuration management tools, which offers wide possibilities for enhancing your DevOps processes.


Kubernetes is open-source and freely available. However, if you're using a managed Kubernetes service provided by cloud providers, you will need to pay for the resources (CPU, memory, storage, etc.) used. This cost can vary greatly depending on the scale and requirements of your applications.


  • Extensive community support
  • High level of customizability
  • Versatile integrations with other systems


  • Can be complex to configure and manage
  • No direct support; reliant on community or third-party providers
  • Costs can add up if using a managed service

9. Google Cloud Build - Best for continuous integration and delivery on Google Cloud

Google Cloud Build Container Orchestration Software
This is a screenshot of the Google Cloud IAM page dashboard.

Google Cloud Build is a service that executes your builds on the Google Cloud Platform. It is designed to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying software. It is especially beneficial for developers already using Google Cloud, as it offers a smooth, integrated experience for continuous integration and delivery workflows.

Why I Picked Google Cloud Build:

I selected Google Cloud Build because of its integration with Google Cloud and its robust capabilities for automating CI/CD pipelines. Its deep integration with other Google Cloud services sets it apart, allowing for a unified and streamlined development workflow. Thus, I believe Google Cloud Build is best for continuous integration and delivery on Google Cloud, particularly for teams already working within this ecosystem.

Standout features & integrations:

Google Cloud Build supports a wide variety of languages, like Python, Java, Go, Node.js, and more, providing flexibility in your development. It's also capable of building Docker containers or non-container artifacts, offering versatility in application deployment. In terms of integrations, it pairs well with other Google Cloud services, and it supports popular third-party tools like GitHub and Bitbucket for a smooth CI/CD workflow.


Pricing for Google Cloud Build starts from $0.0034/build-minute. However, the first 120 build-minutes per day are offered for free. Please note that additional costs might be incurred for using other Google Cloud services.


  • Deep integration with Google Cloud services
  • Supports a wide range of programming languages
  • First 120 build-minutes per day are free


  • Pricing can be complex and unpredictable due to its per-minute billing
  • Primarily beneficial for teams already using Google Cloud
  • May have fewer integrations compared to some competitors

10. Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform - Best for enterprise-level container deployment and management

Red Hat OpenShift Container Orchestration Software
This is Red Hat OpenShift's dashboard console overview.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is a comprehensive enterprise-grade solution that delivers powerful container orchestration with Kubernetes. It provides developers with an integrated development environment for building and deploying Docker-formatted containers. This platform shines particularly for large-scale, enterprise-level container deployment and management, where the needs for security, stability, and scalability are high.

Why I Picked Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform:

In determining the best tools for enterprise-level container management, I selected the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. It stands out with its strong focus on security and robustness, crucial features for enterprise applications. The reason I picked it as the best for enterprise-level container deployment and management is its comprehensive and integrated toolset, ready for large-scale deployment, and high levels of workload.

Standout features & integrations:

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform offers several remarkable features, such as automated application builds and deployments, built-in support for service discovery, and comprehensive developer tools for build automation. Additionally, it provides integrations with various Red Hat's technologies, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Middleware. It also supports a broad array of other third-party applications and systems, ensuring a flexible, hybrid cloud environment.


Pricing for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform starts from $50/user/month, billed annually. It's worth noting that there may be additional costs associated with premium support services and other Red Hat technologies that integrate with the platform.


  • Comprehensive enterprise-grade container management solution
  • Strong focus on security features
  • Extensive integration options with both Red Hat and third-party technologies


  • High cost, especially for smaller teams
  • Complexity might be overkill for simple projects
  • Requires commitment to Red Hat's technology stack for best integration experience

11. Google Cloud Run - Best for running stateless containers invokable via web requests

Google Cloud Run Container Orchestration Software
This is a screenshot of Google Cloud run cloud console.

Google Cloud Run is a managed compute platform that enables developers to run stateless containers invokable via web requests. It automatically scales up and down to meet your traffic demands while only charging you for the compute time you use. Google Cloud Run shines when it comes to running stateless containers that need to respond to web events, as it enables fast deployment and scaling.

Why I Picked Google Cloud Run:

When choosing the right tool for running stateless containers, my choice leaned towards Google Cloud Run. This service stood out due to its integration with the Google Cloud ecosystem, ease of use, and excellent auto-scaling capabilities. The reason it is the best for running stateless containers that can be invoked via web requests is because of its unique event-driven architecture and auto-scaling feature, which is ideal for applications that have fluctuating traffic patterns.

Standout features & integrations:

Google Cloud Run boasts several key features, including automatic scaling, a fully managed environment, and the ability to run any stateless container that responds to HTTP requests. It integrates smoothly with other Google Cloud services like Google Cloud Storage, Pub/Sub, Firestore, and more, enabling developers to create end-to-end workflows within the Google Cloud environment.


Pricing for Google Cloud Run is based on actual usage, so it does not fit the typical $/user/month model. It starts from $0.00002400/vCPU-seconds and $0.00000260/GB-seconds, plus additional networking and storage fees. This makes it an affordable solution for sporadic or unpredictable workloads since you pay only for the resources you use.


  • Integration with Google Cloud ecosystem
  • Excellent for stateless containers with fluctuating traffic
  • Only pay for the compute time you use


  • May be less suitable for stateful applications
  • Learning curve for developers unfamiliar with Google Cloud
  • Pricing can be complex due to multiple cost components

12. Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) - Best for deep integration with AWS ecosystem

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service Container Orchestration Software
This tab of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service shows the applications running on user's cluster. By default, all workloads are shown, but users can filter by namespace or workload type to find what they’re looking for quickly.

Amazon EKS is a managed service that makes it easy for you to run Kubernetes on AWS without needing to install, operate, and maintain your own Kubernetes control plane. It integrates deeply with AWS services and infrastructure, making it a great choice for teams already heavily invested in the AWS ecosystem.

Why I Picked Amazon EKS:

When determining which tool to select for deep integration with the AWS ecosystem, my choice was Amazon EKS. What sets it apart is its integration with AWS services, like Elastic Load Balancing for traffic distribution, IAM for authentication, and CloudTrail for logging. This makes it best for teams using AWS heavily, as they can leverage these integrations to streamline their workflows and improve operational efficiency.

Standout features & integrations:

Amazon EKS provides managed Kubernetes clusters that are highly available across multiple AWS availability zones, eliminating a single point of failure. It also automatically updates and patches your clusters. Some of the major integrations include AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for security, AWS CloudTrail for logging, and AWS Fargate for serverless compute.


Amazon EKS pricing starts from $0.10 per hour for each Amazon EKS cluster that you create. Note that this is the price for the control plane alone, and you will be charged separately for AWS resources (like EC2 instances or EBS volumes) you create to run your Kubernetes worker nodes.


  • Deep integration with AWS services
  • Managed Kubernetes, eliminating the need for manual installation and operation
  • Highly available across multiple AWS zones


  • Additional costs for necessary AWS resources (EC2, EBS, etc.)
  • Can be complex to set up and manage
  • Learning curve for users not familiar with AWS ecosystem

Other Noteworthy Container Orchestration Software

Below is a list of additional container orchestration software that I shortlisted but did not make it to the top 12. Definitely worth checking them out.

  1. Amazon Elastic Container Service - Good for simple application deployment in AWS ecosystem
  2. Mirantis Kubernetes Engine - Good for multi-cloud Kubernetes management
  3. Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE) - Good for Oracle Cloud users needing Kubernetes services
  4. IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service - Good for running secure and intelligent workloads in IBM Cloud
  5. AWS Fargate - Good for running containers without managing servers or clusters
  6. Docker Compose - Good for defining and running multi-container Docker applications
  7. Nomad - Good for deploying and managing applications in any environment
  8. Apache Mesos - Good for managing computer clusters
  9. Krustlet - Good for running WebAssembly workloads on Kubernetes
  10. Mirantis Kubernetes Engine - Good for multi-cloud Kubernetes deployment with enterprise-grade security
  11. Utho - Good for end-to-end testing of web applications
  12. IBM Cloud Pak for Applications - Good for building cloud-native applications with pre-integrated DevOps toolchains

Selection criteria for choosing Container Orchestration Software

When it comes to container orchestration tools, it's not just about picking any tool that can manage containers. It's about selecting the one that best fits your specific needs, considering factors like core functionality, key features, and usability. Having personally tried and evaluated numerous container orchestration tools, I've singled out the criteria that matter the most in this field.

Core Functionality

In essence, a container orchestration tool should enable you to:

  • Deploy, update, and scale applications
  • Manage the lifecycle of containers
  • Balance loads across a cluster of servers
  • Schedule workloads based on resource usage
  • Ensure application reliability and availability

Key Features

When I researched these tools, I specifically looked for the following key features:

  • Scalability: The tool should have the capacity to manage applications as they grow in complexity and size. This includes being able to add more containers or nodes as needed.
  • Multi-cloud and cross-platform support: The ability to deploy and manage applications across different cloud environments (AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.) and operating systems is vital for avoiding vendor lock-in.
  • Service discovery and load balancing: These features ensure that the tool can distribute network traffic across multiple containers and locate services dynamically.
  • Rolling updates and rollbacks: These features enable the tool to update the application with minimal downtime and roll back to a previous version if something goes wrong.
  • Security and compliance: Look for tools that provide built-in security measures and help maintain regulatory compliance.


The user experience of a container orchestration tool can significantly impact its efficiency and productivity. Here's what to look for:

  • Simplicity in setup and configuration: The tool should not require excessive time and effort to get it up and running.
  • Clear, intuitive interface: A well-designed user interface can make complex tasks manageable, especially for users who are new to container orchestration.
  • Documentation and community support: Detailed guides and a robust community can be lifesavers when you're dealing with a steep learning curve or run into issues.
  • Integration with existing tools: The tool should easily integrate with your current development and operations tools to streamline workflows.

Most Common Questions Regarding Container Orchestration Software (FAQs)

What are the benefits of using container orchestration tools?

Container orchestration tools offer numerous benefits, including:

  1. Efficient resource management: These tools can schedule and assign containers to specific servers in the cluster based on the resources they require, maximizing efficiency.
  2. Scaling: With container orchestration, it's easy to scale applications up or down based on demand, enhancing application performance.
  3. Load balancing: Container orchestration tools ensure workload is evenly distributed across the servers, improving the availability and reliability of applications.
  4. Rolling updates and rollbacks: They enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), allowing for fast, reliable updates and rollbacks if needed.
  5. Multi-cloud deployment: Container orchestration tools allow for deploying and managing applications across multiple cloud environments, providing flexibility and avoiding vendor lock-in.

How much do container orchestration tools typically cost?

Pricing for container orchestration tools can vary greatly depending on the specific tool, its features, and the scale of your operations. Some open-source tools are free to use, but they often require significant setup and maintenance. Other tools, especially cloud-based solutions, typically follow a usage-based pricing model where you pay for the resources consumed by your applications.

What are the pricing models for container orchestration tools?

There are primarily three pricing models:

  1. Open-source: These tools are free to use, but you may incur costs related to setup, management, and support.
  2. Usage-based: This is common among cloud-based solutions. You only pay for the resources your applications consume.
  3. Subscription: Some tools follow a subscription model, often billed annually, and may offer different tiers based on features and support level.

What is the typical range of pricing for these tools?

The price can range from free for open-source tools to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month for enterprise-level tools. The cost often depends on factors like the scale of your operations, the complexity of your applications, and the level of support you need.

What are the cheapest and most expensive container orchestration tools?

Among the tools I've discussed, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes are open-source and can be used for free, but they require significant setup and maintenance. On the high end, enterprise-level solutions like Red Hat OpenShift can cost several thousand dollars per month, depending on your needs and scale.

Are there any free container orchestration tools?

Yes, there are several open-source container orchestration tools that are free to use, such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Apache Mesos. However, keep in mind that while the software itself is free, there can be costs related to setup, management, and possibly even support.

Other Container Orchestration Software Reviews


To conclude, choosing the right container orchestration software depends heavily on your specific needs, scale of operations, and the cloud or IT environment you're working in. All the tools discussed in this guide come with their strengths and target different use cases, from enterprise-level deployment and management to running stateless containers invokable via web requests.

Here are three key takeaways from this guide:

  1. Identify your needs: Before you start comparing different tools, you need to clearly identify your needs. Consider factors like the scale of your operations, your cloud or IT environment, your team's technical expertise, and specific features you require.
  2. Consider usability: In addition to robust functionality, also consider the usability of the tool. How easy it is to set up and manage? What kind of support and community does it have? These factors can significantly impact your experience with the tool.
  3. Pricing models: Understand the pricing models of the tools you are considering. While some tools are free to use, they may require significant setup and maintenance. Others might have usage-based pricing or subscription models. Always factor in these costs when making a decision.

Ultimately, the best container orchestration software is the one that meets your needs most efficiently and effectively. Take the time to explore each option and make an informed decision.

What do you think?

I hope this guide has been helpful in narrowing down your search for the best container orchestration software. If there are any tools that you think should have made the list, I invite you to share them.

I'm always interested in exploring new options and learning from the experiences of others in the field. Your input could be incredibly valuable not only for me but for other readers too. So, please don't hesitate to suggest any tools you've found useful. Thank you for reading.

Paulo Gardini Miguel
By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.