Blimp vs. Other Software

Skaffold and other Kubernetes dev tools

Kubernetes development environments (like Skaffold and friends) are for developers who not only want to run Kubernetes in production, but in development as well.

Blimp is for developers working with containers that use Docker Compose to run their dependencies locally, even if they’re using Kubernetes in production. Blimp runs on Kubernetes in the backend; however, the interface it exposes to developers looks and feels like Docker Compose. As a result, it may be easier to start using for Developers that aren’t familiar with Kubernetes.

If you’re already using Docker Compose for development, you can get started with Blimp instantly, without having to learn a new tool, new configuration files, or change your workflow.


Vagrant is a major inspiration for Blimp. It made it dramatically easier for developers to use virtual machines in their development workflow. While Vagrant is awesome, it’s really intended for working wit virtual machines and not optimized for containers. Blimp is designed to make container development faster and easier.

Docker Compose

Docker Compose is the de facto standard for development with multiple containers. If you need to spin up a few on your laptop, and they don’t consume too much RAM or CPU, then Docker Compose is the way to go.

Blimp is a drop-in replacement for Docker Compose that runs in the cloud. It keeps the best parts of Docker Compose (ease-of-use, intuitive configuration, simple workflow), while transparently running the containers in the cloud instead of on your laptop.

Docker Machine

Docker Machine simplifies the process of booting a virtual machine, installing the docker daemon, and connecting that daemon to your docker CLI. It was particularly popular in the early days of Docker, before the introduction of Docker Desktop, when there was no easy way to run Docker locally for development on mac or windows.

If you already have credentials with a major cloud-provider, Docker machine can be used to boot a virtual machine in the cloud, install docker on that virtual machine, and run containers.

Docker machine lacks key features that developers need in their daily workflow. Most notably, host volumes (frequently used for developing code without rebuilding) aren’t supported. Additionally it’s slower, more expensive, and generally clunkier than Blimp.