Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Monday, August 10, 2020
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Red Hat Survey Highlights Container Certification 

Production deployment of Linux application containers may not be meeting expectations, but there is no shortage of industry surveys attempting to pinpoint barriers to adoption.

The latest released on Friday (June 19) comes from key container technology proponent Red Hat, which again found building momentum for production rollouts along with lingering concerns about security and certification.

Those findings echo an industry survey released earlier this week by Docker partner ClusterHQ that also identified security, data management and networking issues as barriers to container adoption.

The Red Hat survey of nearly 400 IT professionals found that two-thirds are planning Linux container production rollouts over the next two years. Of those, 83 percent said they are planning deployments on top of virtual environments. That strategy, the survey asserts, demonstrates growing recognition of "the benefits of using containers and virtualization together, rather than one or the other."

Among those planning deployments, 44 percent said they view containers as a way of consolidating existing servers in the datacenter.

Still, the Red Hat survey found, 60 percent of respondents cited concerns about Linux container security along with certification and image provenance, or origin. Security worries are hardly unique to emerging technologies like Linux containers, but it is a growing issue for the booming open source movement that seeks to share underlying technologies as a way of improving product innovation.

On a more practical level, 58 percent of those responding to the Red Hat-commissioned survey cited integration of Linux containers with existing development tools and processes as a barrier to adoption. Similar to the ClusterHQ survey, 55 percent cited data management issues. More than half of respondents identified a lack of skills as a barrier to container adoption.

Of the 67 percent of respondents who plan container rollouts over the next two years, half said they plan to use container-based applications in cloud deployments while 56 percent plan to leverage them as vehicles for web and e-commerce software, the Red Hat survey found.

In an attempt to address persistent barriers to adoption of application containers for production workloads, Red Hat in March unveiled what it billed as certified ecosystem for Linux containers based on Docker. The framework seeks to address deployment concerns by certifying development and deployment of secure applications containers via industry standards like the Docker container format and Docker Engine. Docker Engine is the runtime at the core of Docker used to build and run containers.

Tim Yeaton, senior vice president of Red Hat's infrastructure business, said the survey results reinforce the company's own container strategy of "addressing security and certification concerns, providing robust container management capabilities regardless of the container deployment platform and creating tools and best practices to enable enterprises to develop the right skill sets to best leverage the promise of Linux containers for their organizations."

Security, certification, improved software support and other barriers to container adoption in production environments will be key topics at next week's DockerCon conference in San Francisco.

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).

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