ISG Study: U.S. Enterprises Embracing Container Technology

U.S. enterprises increasingly are adopting containers to streamline their applications workflows. Many of these enterprises are turning to solutions providers delivering container services to help them get full value from this cloud-native technology. It’s the outcome of Information Services Group’s (ISG’s) latest market study regarding container services and solutions in the U.S. market.

It turns out that enterprises in the U.S. are taking a wide variety of approaches to adopting and integrating containers. In some cases, enterprises work to develop container resources in house by training employees in the technology or hiring engineers with expertise. Other enterprises look to service providers to ramp up their container operations.

“Many companies start with the use of a small cluster on a developer’s computer, then graduate to hyperscale cloud container services,” said Blair Hanley Frank, principal analyst with ISG Research, and co-author of the report. “Enterprises have several choices when they adopt containers, including whether to use one public cloud vendor or pursue a multicloud or hybrid cloud approach.”

DevOps Strategy

This market research by ISG, the 2021 ISG Provider Lens Container Services and Solutions Report for the U.S., notes that the adoption of containers frequently entails substantial cultural and organizational changes in a company, in addition to new technical capabilities. Some developers are responsible for the writing and maintenance of containerized apps, and another team is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the container platform.

This division of tasks is an expansion of the DevOps strategy utilized by many firms in recent years, although many companies have not yet finished their DevOps shift, creating challenges for companies embracing containers.

The most successful container service providers are not only able to bring advanced skills to their clients, but they also help clients evolve their approaches to software development, the report says. Leaders in the container area are able to provide training resources to help customers use containers in the best way possible.

Managed Container Services

Photo Blair Hanley Frank, principal analyst with ISG Research
“Enterprises have several choices when they adopt containers, including whether to use one public cloud vendor or pursue a multicloud or hybrid cloud approach,” said Blair Hanley Frank, principal analyst with ISG Research.

In the area of managed container services, providers are offering a wide spectrum of services to satisfy business needs, the report says. In some cases, a managed services provider (MSP) simply deploys and maintains a container platform on behalf of a customer, while on the other hand providers are both operating the platform and building and maintaining applications inside containers.

In addition, the ISG report finds that paid Kubernetes container platforms are worth the investment for most enterprises. While it may be tempting for enterprises to operate their own Kubernetes platform, the amount of time spent on maintaining those Kubernetes platforms can be significant. Commercially available Kubernetes platforms offer features such as simplified management, role-based access controls and improved graphical interfaces, stated ISG.

Multi-Cloud Kubernetes Platforms

The ISG report also anticipates multi-cluster and multi-cloud Kubernetes platforms to be the future, as enterprises using Kubernetes need their software to handle the full breadth of possible approaches to using the technology. These platforms must streamline the process of deploying and managing workloads across multiple Kubernetes clusters in different cloud environments, while enterprises are operating multiple clusters in production to help with workload isolation.

U.S. enterprises beyond the proof-of-concept stage are often turning to public cloud platformsmanaged container offerings, the ISG report says. These services are powerful on-ramps to using Kubernetes and other container technologies because they help remove some of the complexity involved with deploying and managing clusters.

As more enterprises are utilizing containerized applications in production, the need for observability solutions is growing, the ISG report stated. Many application performance monitoring providers have integrated observability approaches into their platforms. Dedicated observability players are being acquired by these providers or are moving into the application monitoring space themselves.

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