The mythology of containers killing or supplanting VMs makes for a tempting narrative, one in which a few lumbering incumbents (mainly VMware) have the rugs yanked out from under them by scrappy upstarts -- e.g., Docker, but also OpenStack.
Such a storyline, though, assumes too many things. The biggest assumption is that every workload, every environment, and every set of customer or departmental demands are covered as elegantly and completely by containers as they were by VMs.
Philosophical considerations aside, there are good practical reasons not to see Docker as "VMs: The Next Generation." The biggest reason is differentiation, especially as other products -- including VMware itself -- add container support. If everyone's "doing containers," what's the appeal of Docker versus any competing technology that now also runs them?
Docker's answer, so far, is to provide a toolset that's minimal and application-focused, something small enough that most organizations can wrap their minds (and devops teams) around it without excessive overhead. If the ecosystem that arises replaces VMs for some people, great -- but the stated mission is to build an app-delivery system that's as potentially distinct from VMs as VMs were distinct from all that came before. After all, it isn't as if VMs completely killed bare metal, either.
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