Containers are on fire as enterprises ramp up adoption

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Container technology is rapidly transforming the way enterprises develop and deliver applications, and adoption is set to ramp up spectacularly in the next year, even as obstacles towards adoption persist.

A new report from the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Hope Versus Reality: Containers in 2016, shows that 16 percent of all organizations are already using containers in production. But research firm ClearPath Strategies, which carried out the survey on behalf of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, said we’re only now just starting to see the shift in those looking to move into production.

“Another 64 percent [of organizations] are expecting to move into production in the next year,” said Abby Kearns, vice president of Industry Strategy at the Cloud Foundry Foundation, in a statement to Datamation.

ClearPath quizzed a total of 711 IT decision makers at organizations with at least 100 employees in seven countries (the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, China, Japan and South Korea) for the survey, finding that the most popular use case for containers was in application development environments (54 percent of respondents). Other popular use cases include containers being used as a lightweight approach to resource sharing (42 percent), as a means to operate versioned runtimes (36 percent), as an operating system (33 percent), and as a replacement for virtual machines (30 percent).

But although containers are exciting developers in organizations across the globe the technology is also creating new challenges to be overcome. Some 50 percent of respondents cited container management as the top challenge, while issues such as monitoring (38 percent), persistent storage (36 percent) and security and isolation (30 percent) were all causing big headaches too.

The findings of the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s report were backed up by a second independent study on container adoption published this week by ClusterHQ, which found that container usage for production workloads jumped 96 percent over the last year. That report also warned of roadblocks in the way of adoption however, citing persistent storage as the top challenge.

The ClusterHQ study also took a deeper dive into who is using what in the container ecosystem. To no one’s surprise, Docker Inc.’s container engine technology remains the most popular by a wide margin, used by a massive 94 percent of respondents. However things are much more competitive when we look at container orchestration and management tools. Currently, Google’s Kubernetes platform is the top choice, used by 40 percent of organizations. However, other platforms including Docker Swarm (30 percent), Amazon Web Services’ EC2 Container Service (24 percent) and Apache Mesos (15 percent) are also gaining traction, in an illustration of the explosive growth in the segment as a whole. Some 32 percent of firms also said they were using “internally developed tools” for container orchestration and management.

“This indicates that people are still experimenting with multiple container managers to figure out which is the right tool for the job,” ClusterHQ noted in a statement. “The uptake in the use of Kubernetes provides market evidence that Google’s investment in the industry has paid off in a short amount of time.”

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