Kubernetes and Apache Mesos: A Comprehensive Comparison

Kubernetes versus Apache Mesos

Kubernetes and Apache Mesos are both open-source systems for managing containerized applications in a cluster of machines. Kubernetes is designed to be a general-purpose orchestration system, while Mesos is designed to be a more specialized cluster manager for running distributed systems. Both systems offer similar features, such as automatic scaling and failover, but they have some key differences.

In this article, we will evaluate the similarities and differences between Kubernetes and Apache Mesos, and determine the most appropriate use cases for each.

Apache Mesos

Apache Mesos is an open-source cluster manager and orchestration system for containerized applications. It is designed to abstract away the underlying hardware and provide a consistent, scalable platform for running applications. Mesos provides a centralized, fault-tolerant framework for managing resources, scheduling tasks, and handling failures.

Mesos uses a two-level scheduling architecture, where resource offers are made to frameworks (such as Marathon for long-running services or Chronos for cron-like jobs), which then make scheduling decisions. Mesos also supports containerization using popular technologies like Docker, allowing for easy deployment and management of containerized applications.

Mesos provides a number of features that make it well-suited for distributed systems, such as:

  • Resource isolation and sharing across multiple frameworks
  • Dynamic resource allocation to ensure efficient use of resources
  • Built-in support for running both containerized and non-containerized workloads
  • Support for running multiple frameworks on the same cluster, such as Hadoop, Spark, and Elasticsearch
  • Automatic failover and self-healing to ensure high availability of services
  • A simple and stable API that makes it easy to integrate with existing systems.

Mesos is designed to be flexible and can be used in a wide range of environments and use cases, from large-scale data processing to microservices and web services. It is also used in the big data ecosystem, in combination with frameworks such as Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, and Apache Cassandra, among others.


Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It was originally developed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Kubernetes provides a platform-agnostic way to manage containers, making it easier to deploy, scale, and manage containerized applications in a cloud-native environment. It uses a declarative approach, where the desired state of the application is defined in configuration files, and Kubernetes automatically manages the underlying resources to ensure that the desired state is maintained.

Kubernetes has a number of built-in features that make it well-suited for container orchestration, such as:

  • Automatic scaling of containers based on resource usage
  • Self-healing capabilities to automatically replace or reschedule failed containers
  • Load balancing and traffic management for incoming requests
  • Service discovery and automatic configuration of network routes
  • Rolling updates and rollbacks for updating and managing application versions.

Kubernetes also has a large and active community, which has resulted in a wide range of tools, plugins, and extensions that can be used to enhance the functionality of the platform.

Advantages of Kubernetes over Apache Mesos

  1. Popularity and community: Kubernetes is more widely adopted and has a larger and more active community, which means more documentation, tutorials, and support available.
  2. Features: Kubernetes is a more mature platform and has more features built-in, such as self-healing, automatic scaling, and service discovery.
  3. Native support for containers: Kubernetes was built specifically for container orchestration and has better support for modern containerization technologies such as Docker and rkt.
  4. Ecosystem: Kubernetes has a wider ecosystem of tools and add-ons available, such as Kubernetes Dashboard, Helm, and Kops, that can help with monitoring, deployment, and maintenance tasks.
  5. Integration with cloud providers: Kubernetes has better integration with popular cloud providers, such as AWS, GCP, and Azure, making it easier to deploy and manage containerized workloads in the cloud.

Advantages of Apache Mesos over Kubernetes

  1. Resource allocation: Mesos has a more fine-grained resource allocation model, which allows for more efficient use of resources in a cluster. On the other hand, Kubernetes uses a pod-based resource allocation model, where resources are allocated to a group of containers (pods) that are deployed together.
  2. Non-containerized workloads: Mesos has built-in support for running non-containerized workloads, while Kubernetes requires additional tooling to support these types of workloads.
  3. Mature API: Mesos has a more mature and stable API, which can make it easier to integrate with existing systems.
  4. Smaller Footprint: Mesos has a smaller footprint and lower resource overhead than Kubernetes, which can make it a better choice for large-scale, resource-constrained deployments.


Apache Mesos is a powerful and flexible cluster manager that can be used to manage and schedule tasks across a cluster of machines, providing a centralized and efficient way to manage resources in a distributed system.

Kubernetes is a powerful and flexible platform that can be used to manage containerized applications, providing a simple and efficient way to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containers in a cloud-native environment.

Mesos and Kubernetes have different design goals and trade-offs, so the best choice will depend on your specific use case and requirements. In most cases, you may want to choose to use Kubernetes for containerized workloads, and Mesos for big data and non-containerized workloads.

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