A high percentage of companies that started out experimenting with containers are now running them in production, and container management is beginning to command a recognizable share of the IT budget, according to a survey conducted for ClusterHQ, a container management software supplier.
ClusterHQ is one of the few firms to measure the penetration of containers into enterprise IT over the last two years, hiring a leading DevOps online publication to conduct its annual Container Market Adoption Survey.
The DevOps.com survey was conducted between April and May, with 310 site visitors participating -- a relatively small opinion sample, but one of the few available on containers adoption. Forty-one percent of the respondents identified themselves as developers, 35% as members of DevOps teams, 13% as operations staff, 9% as security, and 1% as quality assurance.
The survey found that 79% of the organizations had explored and experimented with containers, and a similar high percentage -- 76% -- were running them in production. In 2015, the same survey found 38% were using containers in production.
Of those aware of the details of their company's IT budget, 52% said the company was now budgeting for container operations. In addition, 25% reported that their company was spending up to $10,000 on container technologies, 17% reported up to $100,000, 6.5% reported up to $500,000, and another 6.5% reported up to $1 million or more.
However, 39% reported that they didn't know what their companies were spending, while 56% responded that they were in their first year of spending on containers as part of the budget.
Docker was the primary recipient of the spending: 76% reported that their dollars go to Docker, while 4% reported that they use LXC or the Linux operating system's container primitives that require open source programmer knowledge. Another 3% use Solaris Zones, while 1% use CoreOS' Rocket and 1% also use BSD Jails.
The most frequently cited reason for adopting containers was to increase developer efficiency, which containers aid by making it easier to move modules of applications around. The second most frequently cited reason was to support the building of a microservices, a rationale that fits the outlook of DevOps practitioners taking an online survey.
When it comes to container technologies, Docker was the container formatting engine of choice, with 94% citing their use of it. But when it comes to container orchestration, the Google-originated Kubernetes system was the leading choice, according to the survey. The report on the results didn't cite by what margin, and Docker continues to try to chip away at Kubernetes dominance in container orchestration.
When it comes to deployment environments, Amazon Web Services was the No. 1 choice, while in-house data centers "are a strong second choice," according to the report, which is called Container Market Adoption 2016. The full report can be downloaded at the ClusterHQ website.
[Want to learn how Docker has addressed container security? Read Docker Security Scanning Protects Container Software Stack.]
When it comes to obstacles to adopting containers, persistent storage outweighed last year's security as the chief obstacle, cited by 25% of respondents. Other issues include networking (15%), security (11%), data management (9%), and cross cloud or data center support (8%).
Docker added the capability of adding persistent storage to Linux containers in the second half of 2015.
For those who aren't using containers, 42% responded that there is "still not enough known about the technology." At the same time, 15% reported that they didn't know why they weren't using containers, while 7% reported that they lacked the compelling customer case studies that would convince them they too should invest in containers.
Another 7% responded that they didn't believe "the hype" around containers.
Most of the respondents were using containers under Linux.
Microsoft is committed to supporting Docker and Windows containers in Windows Server 2016, which is currently in technical preview. Its general availability release is expected sometime in the third quarter of this year.Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio