June 27, 2017

Managing containers used to be a command-line affair. But a rich and growing ecosystem of Web-based interfaces for containers has now emerged. Here’s an overview of the different Web UIs available for container management and orchestration.

Before we begin, I should note that not all of these Web interfaces do the same thing. Some are designed for on-premise container management, others as frontends for orchestration tools like Kubernetes and Swarm and others still as tools for offloading container management to the cloud.

Still, taken as a whole, these Web UIs underline how usability is fast becoming a more important part of the container ecosystem. DevOps teams no longer have to love the CLI if they want to make the most of containers.

The diversity of the tools for Web-based container management also show that both third-party developers and the big container platforms themselves are eager to offer up solutions for this niche. Docker, Kubernets and Marathon all come with native Web interfaces. But there are also non-official alternatives for admins who want to try something else.

The list of third-party Web UIs is only likely to grow as containers mature, and as demand increases for management interfaces that can handle more than just one type of underlying API or orchestration tool. (In other words, admins will want Web interfaces that can work with, for example, both Swarm and Kubernetes, rather than being tied to a specific orchestrator.)

Which Web interfaces for containers are available? Here’s a list of the top seven that we think are most interesting:

  • Shipyard: a Web UI for Swarm, Docker’s official orchestration tool. Shipyard delivers 100 percent compatibility with the Docker UI, the company says.
  • Marathon UI: the Web interface for Marathon, the Mesosphere orchestration tool. Unlike Swarm and Kubernetes, which focus on CLI tools with optional Web interface add-ons, Marathon relies on its Web UI as the main management interface.
  • Simple Docker UI: an unofficial monitoring tool for Docker containers. Also compatible with Swarm. Nothing too fancy here, but if you want a simple and quick Web interface for Docker, this gets the job done.
  • Panamax: Offers a rich point-and-click interface for container orchestration as part of the project’s promise to deliver “Docker Management for Humans.”
  • Kube UI: the Kubernetes Web interface.
  • Not Dockers UI: as the name implies, this is an alternative to DockerUI, Docker’s official Web interface. Promises to deliver “a pure client side implementation so it is effortless to connect and manage docker.” Still in development; not ready for production.
  • ClusterUP: another third-party Web UI for monitoring Docker containers.

This list is already pretty long, and it’s not exhaustive. Did we miss your favorite Web interface for container management? Feel free to point it out.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

  • Nickolay Snopov

    You missed out on products such as: Rancher, Last.Backend and many others with more advanced UX and UI.

    • Christopher Tozzi

      Good point re: Rancher but I think Last.Backend is something different. It’s a cloud-based CI platform, not just a GUI for management backends.

  • DC/OS Marathon (which is part of the newly announced DC/OS http://dcos.io open source project) has both a strong web UI and a strong CLI.

    The Marathon CLI is documented here: http://mesosphere.github.io/marathon/docs/command-line-flags.html

  • Ritesh Patel

    Check out nirmata (http://www.nirmata.com) – a cloud service for container and microservices management.