Containers have reshaped the technology landscape in the past year. Picking up where virtualization left off, they have brought new levels of portability to cloud deployments and ushered in the move to microservices, making it easier to break applications into smaller parts that can be updated more frequently and with less disruption. They are the big technology story of 2018.
But what does container deployment really look like in the enterprise and what does it mean for 2019?
We hear a lot about the benefits but have little hard data to help us understand how enterprises are using containers and what they really see as the value.
How high is container penetration?
Which clouds are best for deploying containers?
Which orchestration tools are most popular?
To find out, we surveyed more than 500 IT pros and uncovered some interesting results that can help developers, engineers and CIOs who are looking to better understand the benefits of containers and to find out how they are being embraced by their peers.
Here are some of the most compelling findings from our Annual Container Adoption survey report:
Containers hit the mainstream
In 2018, over 80 percent of IT professionals and their teams reported running container technologies — a sharp increase from years past, with just 55 percent of teams running container technologies in 2017.
Overall, an incredible 83 percent of those teams are running them in production — a huge leap from just 67 percent in 2017.
What's more, the number of teams running at least 40 percent of their apps in containers has more than doubled from last year, up to 65 percent from 2017's 30 percent. The primary motivation: increasing developer productivity (32 percent of respondents said so).
Multi-cloud gains ground
If there's one prediction I'm excited to see come to life in 2019, it's that multi- and hybrid-cloud will become a functioning, value-providing reality. Microsoft has long counted on a hybrid-cloud approach to stand apart from the crowd with Azure. With Google and Amazon both opening up hybrid cloud options in the second half of 2018, and IBM's Red Hat acquisition, it's officially a trend.
What's more, our survey reveals a sharp increase in respondents who say they are deploying containers to enable multi-cloud workloads. In fact, 30 percent of IT pros said the primary reason they are now adopting containers is to enable multi-cloud; compare that to just 18 percent who said as much in 2017. What's more, 35 percent of teams running containers reported already running them in more than one cloud.
The competition heats up
It will come as no surprise that Kubernetes leads the container management race, given that even formally non-Kubernetes-based options are embracing Kubernetes as a container scheduler. Yet with multiple options for running Kubernetes either in a particular cloud or on multiple clouds, IT teams need to decide who they trust most to help them on their Kubernetes journey. When we asked who that was, IT leaders told us they trust Amazon the most (23 percent), followed closely by Microsoft (21 percent), then Google (16 percent) and IBM (16 percent). However, IT leaders said that Microsoft Azure is the most developer-friendly cloud for containers (39 percent), the most supportive of open standards (35 percent), as well as the best value for money (36 percent).
Still facing some hurdles
This year, security tops the list of challenges to deploying containers, at 56 percent. Persistent storage, the top challenge of respondents in 2017, fell to #7 this year, however data management comes in at #2. This indicates that as the cloud native storage and container markets progress, higher level challenges (data management) replace lower level challenges (persistent storage).
Additionally, multi-cloud and cross-DC management comes in as the #3 most commonly reported challenge, indicating a need to solve data mobility for Kubernetes. Of those not using containers, education is a big hurdle: 25 percent said not enough is known about the technology to invest resources in them.
The results of this report show a computing landscape that is being quickly transformed. As businesses search for new ways to boost developer productivity, go multi-cloud, reduce infrastructure costs, and respond faster to changing customer needs, containers are ushering in new patterns of cloud usage. 2019 should prove an interesting year for further changes, and we'll be watching closely, and reporting back.