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

Container Adoption Spurs Cloud Usage Across Asia 

Alisara Zilch/Shutterstock

Cloud usage is surging in Asia, led by the adoption of cloud-native technologies such as Kubernetes across the region but particularly in the booming Chinese technology sector, a new survey finds.

The poll released this week by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) found that cloud usage across Asia has jumped 135 percent since March 2018 as datacenter operators shift decisively from on-premise to public and private clouds. The decline in on-premise infrastructure was precipitous, dropping by nearly half to 31 percent of about 300 respondents across the region.

(CNCF conducted in the survey and released the results in Mandarin as well as English.)

Application container management tools led the Asian cloud adoption surge, with “home-grown” frameworks jumping an astronomical 690 percent, the foundation reported Tuesday (Nov. 13). Meanwhile, commercial container management tools like Docker Swarm and Cloud Foundry jumped 58 percent over the last seven months.

Adoption of the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator rose a modest 11 percent, the smaller percentage likely indicating that adoption is well underway. For example, the survey reported that Chinese Internet company (NASDAQ: JD) moved from OpenStack to Kubernetes to boost infrastructure utilization.

Elsewhere, Yahoo Japan (OTCMKTS: YAHOY) automated its deployment of production workloads using Kubernetes. While Kubernetes remains the most popular container manager, adoption of other platforms was up across the board. For example, Apache Mesos jumped from zero to 16 percent of survey respondents between March and November.

“Container usage is becoming prevalent in all phases of the development cycle,” the survey found. “There has been a significant jump in the use of containers for testing,” increasing 18 percent since March.

Kubernetes clusters in production also jumped during the same period, with the number of Asian companies running between 11-50 production clusters up 154 percent.

The shift from on-premises to cloud deployments also is evident when considering where Kubernetes is hosted. On-premise support for Kubernetes deployments dropped 14 percent since March, with OpenStack taking the biggest hit, down to only 9 percent of deployments.

Beneficiaries of the Asian cloud shift included Baidu Cloud (NASDAQ: BIDU), Digital Ocean and the cloud services of Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Huawei, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL). Those increases, and corresponding declines among dominant public cloud vendors Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Chinese giant Alibaba Cloud (NYSE: BABA), illustrate how Asian companies are also embracing multi-cloud strategies.

CNCF was among the first industry groups to promote other microservices such as serverless computing, an emerging framework in which cloud providers manage computing and storage resources. The group reported that adoption of the technology across Asia spiked, with half of respondents deploying it in production.

Deployments range from “installable” serverless platforms like Apache OpenWhisk to hosted platforms, led by AWS Lambda. Overall, adoption of serverless technology across Asia exceeds North America and Europe, the group reported.

CNCF said about half of respondents to its cloud-native survey were, in descending order, application developers, “development managers” or IT managers.

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).