[Rd] Docker versus Vagrant for reproducability - was: The case for freezing CRAN

Rainer M Krug Rainer at krugs.de
Fri Mar 21 10:59:04 CET 2014

Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd at debian.org> writes:

>  o Roger correctly notes that R scripts and packages are just one issue.
>    Compilers, libraries and the OS matter.  To me, the natural approach these
>    days would be to think of something based on Docker or Vagrant or (if you
>    must, VirtualBox).  The newer alternatives make snapshotting very cheap
>    (eg by using Linux LXC).  That approach reproduces a full environemnt as
>    best as we can while still ignoring the hardware layer (and some readers
>    may recall the infamous Pentium bug of two decades ago).

These two tools look very interesting - but I have, even after reading a
few discussions of their differences, no idea which one is better suited
to be used for what has been discussed here: Making it possible to run
the analysis later to reproduce results using the same versions used in
the initial analysis.

Am I right in saying:

- Vagrant uses VMs to emulate the hardware
- Docker does not

- Vagrant is slower and requires more space
- Docker is faster and requires less space

Therefore, could one say that Vagrant is more "robust" in the long run?

How do they compare in relation to different platforms? Vagrant seems to
be platform agnostic, I can develop and run on Linux, Mac and Windows -
how does it work with Docker? 

I just followed [1] and setup Docker on OSX - loos promising - it also
uses an underlying VM. SO both should be equal in regards to
reproducability in the long run?

Please note: I see these questions in the light of this discussion of
reproducability and not in regards to deployment of applications what
the discussions on the web are.

Any comments, thoughts, remarks?


[1]  http://docs.docker.io/en/latest/installation/mac/

Rainer M. Krug
email: Rainer<at>krugs<dot>de
PGP: 0x0F52F982
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