Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Barriers to Container Adoption Persist, Survey Finds 

While interest in application containers continues to grow, with Docker the overwhelming container technology of choice, enterprise adoption of containers in actual production environments remains relatively low, a new survey of the container adoption confirms.

The good news for container proponents is that 94 percent of organizations surveyed are either using containers or investigating the technology. Nevertheless, only 38 percent of DevOps respondents said they are currently using application containers in production environments. That percentage is expected to rise steadily over the next year as the technology stabilizes and enterprises overcome persistent barriers to adoption.

The biggest hurdle to enterprise adoption of container technology remains security, according to the survey of DevOps specialists commissioned by Cluster HQ, a container data management software specialist. conducted the survey, which polled 285 IT personnel.

Sixty-one percent cited security concerns as the main barrier to container adoption, followed by data management (53 percent) and networking issues (51 percent). Lack of skills related to deploying container technology and concerns about persistent storage were each cited by 48 percent of respondents.

Despite relatively low adoption rates for container technologies, the survey found that 65 percent of IT specialists surveyed expect to deploy containers in production in the next 12 months. However, more than three-quarters of respondents said they would limit container adoption to development and test environments over the next year.

Early production adopters (57 percent) said they are running containers in their own datacenters. Meanwhile, about 52 percent said they were running or plan to run containers on Amazon Web Services public cloud infrastructure.

Internal datacenters run most application containers. (Source: ClusterHQ survey).

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they are deploying containers in a hypervisor, virtualized environment, with VMware vSphere leading the way among about one-third of container users.

Docker container technology was the overwhelming choice of those who have either used or invested container technology, listed by more than 92 percent of respondents. Docker's "container runtime is by far the most popular choice and its orchestration framework, Docker Swarm, is leading the pack amongst people who are looking for ways to manage containerized distributed applications," according to the survey released on Wednesday (June 17).

Survey respondents overwhelming cited Docker as their preferred container technology. (Source: ClusterHQ survey)

"The biggest barriers to greater container adoption are security and data management functionality. Additionally, users want to be able to integrate container data management functionality into their existing container workflow and tools," the survey authors added.

The container survey was tied to the release this week of ClusterHQ's container management software designed to help move Docker containers between servers. In advance of next week's DockerCon user's conference, the San Francisco-based company said its Flocker 1.0 release addresses production deployment of containers for databases and key value stores.

ClusterHQ has partnered with Docker on efforts to extend the container functionality.

ClusterHQ also announced the integration of its Flocker container data management suite with EMC Corp. storage platforms. The collaboration is designed to help DevOps teams develop persistent storage back-ends for Docker-based applications. The partners said they jointly developed storage drivers for EMC's ScaleIO and XtremIO platform to enable shared storage of Docker containers.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).