HashiCorp Nomad and Kubernetes (K8s) are popular container orchestration tools developers use worldwide. We will compare these two tools and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs. We will cover their similarities and differences, benefits and drawbacks, and provide recommendations for different use cases. 

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Containerization has revolutionized application development and deployment by providing a lightweight and scalable approach to software delivery. 

And tools like HashiCorp Nomad and Kubernetes have emerged as popular choices for managing containerized applications at scale. 

While both Nomad and Kubernetes offer similar functionality, they have different architectures, features, and use cases. In this blog, we will compare the two tools and help you decide which is best for your needs. 

So, whether you are a developer, DevOps, Platform Engineer, or SRE, read on to learn more about Nomad vs Kubernetes.

Let’s get started!

What is Container Orchestration?

Container orchestration refers to automating containerized applications' deployment, scaling, and management. It involves using a container orchestration tool to manage and coordinate the deployment of containers across a cluster of servers. 

It helps streamline the application deployment process, ensure high availability, and optimize resource utilization. With container orchestration, developers and DevOps teams can focus on building and delivering applications rather than managing the underlying infrastructure.

Two popular tools for container orchestration are HashiCorp Nomad and Kubernetes.

Nomad is a simple and easy-to-use tool offering a minimalist container orchestration approach. It has a smaller footprint than Kubernetes and can manage different workloads, including containers, VMs, and non-containerized applications.

Kubernetes is a powerful and feature-rich tool that extensively supports containerized applications. It has a large and active community and is widely used in production environments. 

Kubernetes offers advanced features for scaling, deploying, and managing containers but has a steeper learning curve than Nomad.

Also Read: Kubernetes K8s Cost Optimization Tools

Similarities between Nomad and Kubernetes

Automated Scheduling

Both Nomad and Kubernetes offer automated scheduling of containers. This means that users can specify the desired state of their container environment, and the scheduler will automatically schedule containers on available resources. 

Automated scheduling helps ensure that resources are used efficiently and applications are deployed quickly and reliably. 

Both tools support various scheduling strategies, including bin-packing, spread, and affinity-based scheduling, allowing users to optimize their container environment based on their specific needs.


Nomad and Kubernetes support containerization, allowing users to package their applications as lightweight, portable containers. Containerization provides numerous benefits, including faster deployment, better resource utilization, and improved environment consistency. 

Both tools support popular container runtimes like Docker and provide various features for managing container images, including built-in image registries and image pull policies. 

Containerization is a core feature of both Nomad and Kubernetes and is essential for building scalable, cloud-native applications.

Auto-Recovery and Self-Healing Deployments

Both Nomad and Kubernetes provide robust features for managing and monitoring container environments. One such feature is the ability to perform auto-recovery and self-healing deployments.

If a container or node fails, the scheduler will automatically detect the failure and attempt to reschedule the container or migrate it to another node. This helps ensure that applications remain highly available and resilient to failures. 

Both tools also provide detailed metrics and logs for monitoring and troubleshooting container environments, making diagnosing and resolving issues quickly easier. 

Auto-recovery and self-healing deployments are critical features for building scalable, reliable container environments, and both Nomad and Kubernetes excel in this area.

Also Read: How to Create and Manage Secrets in Kubernetes?

Storage Orchestration

Another area where Nomad and Kubernetes share similarities is in storage orchestration. 

Both tools provide mechanisms for managing storage resources in containerized environments. This includes support for different storage providers, such as cloud-based solutions and local storage on nodes. 

Both Nomad and Kubernetes also provide features for managing storage volumes, including dynamic provisioning and attaching volumes to containers. 

These storage orchestration features are essential for building stateful applications in containerized environments, and both Nomad and Kubernetes provide robust support in this area.

Rollout and Rollback Strategies

Nomad and Kubernetes provide mechanisms for managing application deployments through rollout and rollback strategies. Rollout strategies define how new versions of applications are deployed, such as canary deployments or blue/green deployments.

Rollback strategies define how to revert to a previous version of an application in case of issues. Both tools offer various rollout and rollback strategies, making it easy to manage application deployments and ensure they are deployed safely and efficiently. These features are critical for maintaining high availability and minimizing downtime in production environments.

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Difference between Nomad and Kubernetes

Market Share & Community Support

Nomad is newer and has a smaller market share, making it more difficult to find resources and support.

Kubernetes, on the other hand, has a larger market share (98.5% in the cluster management category) and a larger and more active community, which means it has a wider range of features and better support resources. 


Nomad is known for its ability to scale to many nodes with minimal resource usage. That makes it a great choice for smaller organizations or those with simpler infrastructure needs.

Kubernetes is designed to handle large, complex deployments with thousands of nodes and can easily scale horizontally and vertically.

Ease of Usage

Nomad is much easier to use and has a more straightforward approach to deployment. It has a simpler architecture and requires less configuration and setup, making it more accessible to beginners.

Kubernetes has a steeper learning curve than Nomad, as it involves more complex concepts and has a larger set of features. It requires a lot of configuration and setup before deployment, which can be time-consuming and intimidating for beginners.

Also Read: Differences between Docker Swarm and Kubernetes

Consistent Deployment


Nomad focuses on deploying individual applications. It allows for easier and more flexible deployment of applications. It supports various workloads, including Docker containers, Java applications, and more. 

Nomad allows easy integration with other HashiCorp tools, such as Consul for service discovery and HashiCorp Vault for secrets management.


Kubernetes focuses on deploying and managing large-scale, complex systems. It has a more robust deployment process that ensures consistency across many applications and services. 

It uses a declarative configuration model that allows for easy replication and scaling of services. 

Load Balancing

Nomad requires users to set up their load balancers or use a third-party solution. Nomad does not provide an in-built load balancer like Kubernetes. However, Nomad integrates seamlessly with Consul, which provides a load-balancing solution that can be used to distribute traffic across services.

Kubernetes provides a built-in load balancer that allows the user to create a service object and expose it through an external IP address. It uses the IP address and a service port to route traffic to the underlying pods.

Also Read: Differences between OpenShift and Kubernetes (K8s)

Languages Used for Deployments


Nomad uses HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), a simple and human-readable language that enables users to define infrastructure as code. 

It is used to define the job specification files, which include information such as the number of tasks to be run, resources required, and constraints. HCL can also be used with other HashiCorp tools like Terraform and Consul.


Kubernetes uses YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language) for its configurations. YAML is a popular data serialization format used to define the desired state of the application. 

In Kubernetes, YAML files define Kubernetes objects such as pods, services, deployments, and replica sets. These files can be used to manage complex applications and be version-controlled, making it easy to track changes.

Also Read: Datadog vs Grafana

Nomad vs Kubernetes: Summary

In summary, both HashiCorp Nomad and Kubernetes offer powerful container orchestration and deployment tools. They share similarities in automated scheduling, auto-recovery, storage orchestration, and rollout/rollback strategies. However, there are also significant differences between the two platforms.

Kubernetes has a larger market share and a more extensive community support system, making it a more popular choice for enterprise-scale deployments. It also has better scalability and load-balancing capabilities and supports a wider range of programming languages.

On the other hand, Nomad is known for its ease of use and consistent deployment features. It also has a more streamlined architecture and can operate in various environments.

Ultimately, the choice between Nomad and Kubernetes will depend on the specific needs of each organization, such as the deployment size, the programming languages used, and the level of support required.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is HashiCorp Nomad better than Kubernetes?

It depends on your specific use case and requirements. HashiCorp Nomad and Kubernetes have their strengths and weaknesses, and choosing one over the other depends on scalability, ease of use, and community support. It's important to evaluate both platforms carefully before making a decision.

What is the difference between K3s and K8s?

K3s is a lightweight version of Kubernetes designed for edge computing and small-scale environments, while K8s is a robust and scalable container orchestration platform designed for large-scale deployments.

K3s has a smaller footprint, requires fewer resources, and is easier to install and manage than K8s. Here is a detailed comparison between K3s and K8s.

What is the Amazon equivalent of Kubernetes?

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).