LXD – The Docker alternative

Rough Edges

The Linux Magazine lab clearly revealed that LXD is not currently suitable for production use, but Canonical expressly stresses this, too. All told, given the many warnings, LXD did quite well in the test. Starting and stopping containers worked quite well, for example.

Since February, the LXD developers have been working on nova-compute-lxd [4], which will integrate LXD with OpenStack Kilo or its successor, at the latest. Currently, this functionality is still missing.

Much Done, Much To Do

The first views of LXD whet your appetite for more. OpenStack integration takes top priority. If Canonical really does manage to combine LXD so well with OpenStack, as is its intention, LXD will take the OpenStack world by storm because a passable OpenStack connectivity solution does not currently exist for practically any other container solution except Docker.

Mark Shuttleworth invested in OpenStack, and Ubuntu was the first distribution to use OpenStack heavily. And although Red Hat and SUSE are now contributing on a similar scale to the development of OpenStack, Ubuntu seems to be unopposed on the OpenStack front. LXD can thus be considered Canonical's push toward maintaining this lead.

From a technology point of view, LXD is already ahead of Docker in some ways even at this early stage. Thanks to the manually installed nova-compute-lxd, LXD can handle the same basic tasks in OpenStack as a combination of Nova, Docker, and nova-docker.

OpenStack played a major role in the development of LXD from the outset, so in many ways, LXD is designed to be expressly oriented on OpenStack. LXD can handle OpenStack's image and network services, Glance and Neutron, right from the outset. When this article was written, the developers were working on adding support for Cinder volumes to LXD/OpenStack integration in the form of nova-compute-lxd.

One thing is certain: The container virtualization market will remain exciting. For Docker, LXD is a powerful competitor which, although not suitable as a tool for distributing applications because it lacks Git-style image management, is likely to be the first choice when it comes to connecting containers with OpenStack for reasons of density and performance.


  1. "LXC: Linux Containers" by Florian Effenberger, Linux Pro Magazine, issue 139, June 2011, p. 54, http://www.linuxpromagazine.com/Issues/2012/139/LXC-Linux-Containers
  2. OpenVZ: https://openvz.org/Main_Page
  3. LXD: https://github.com/lxc/lxd
  4. nova-compute-lxd: https://github.com/zulcss/nova-compute-lxd

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