U.S. Survey: ‘Containers Going Mainstream but Still Challenging to Deploy’

U.S. companies appear to be moving quickly to deploy container technologies, with 70 percent of respondents using containers today and another 21 percent indicating they plan to do so soon. The survey among 200 IT professionals was conducted by NetEnrich, a company headquartered in Silicon Valley that combines industrialized services and a proprietary automation platform to deliver IT infrastructure and operations management services from on-premise to cloud.

Container technology represents an opportunity for developer and operations teams to increase efficiency and flexibility in the delivery of software applications. Containers enclose pieces of code in a layer of software that can be transported easily between computers. While not new, container technology would be gaining steam as companies look for ways to speed software delivery and leverage emerging technologies such as public cloud infrastructure.

According to the results of NetEnrich’s survey, the primary benefit, cited by 63 percent of respondents, of using container technology was the improved flexibility it provides in terms of a company’s IT infrastructure. The second most common benefit (53 percent of respondents) was overall IT cost savings. Increased speed/productivity for developers launching code (51 percent) and greater responsiveness to business needs (40 percent) were the third and fourth most often experienced benefits, respectively.

Interestingly, 46 percent of respondents said they expected to save as much as 30 percent in annual IT costs through the use of containers, whether in developer productivity, infrastructure expenses or other efficiencies.

chris joseph netenrich
“The results of our survey indicate that container adoption is on the rise and leading to cost savings and efficiency gains for many IT organizations,” said Chris Joseph, NetEnrich.

Still, companies are experiencing some growing pains associated with the use of containers. The biggest issue, called out by 55 percent of persons responding to NetEnrich‘s survey, has been integrating containers into their existing IT environments. Security (53 percent) and managing containers to avoid sprawl and cost overruns (47 percent) were the next biggest hurdles, followed by a lack of experience with container tech among internal staff (42 percent).

Indeed, a whopping 66 percent of IT pros described the difficulty in learning how to effectively use container tech such as Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos as “moderately challenging,” while 21 percent described it as “highly challenging.” Some 58 percent of respondents said they are using third-party management tools and services to address these challenges, and the same percentage said they’re finding services and consultants “competitively priced” and of “good value.”

Other key findings from the NetEnrich June 2016 Container Survey include:

  • 33 percent of respondents said they are using CoreOS as their main container technology. Another 32 percent are using Google Kubernetes, 25 percent are using Docker, and 11 percent are using Joyent.
  • In addition to containers, 76 percent of respondents said they’re using microservices, 69 percent are using public cloud services, 56 percent have adopted DevOps, and 48 percent have adopted automation for code deployments.
  • 30 percent of respondents said they’re running containers at an IT hosting provider’s facility or third-party data center. An additional 27 percent are using containers in their internal data centers, while 27 percent are running on Microsoft Azure and 17 percent are running on Amazon Web Services.
  • 44 percent of respondents said containers would help them reduce virtualization costs “significantly,” while 41 percent said the savings would be “minimal to moderate.”
  • 53 percent of respondents are using Docker containers in conjunction with Apache and/or Docker Swarm, while 27 percent are using Docker with DCOS and 18 percent are using Docker with Mesos.
  • The greatest percentage of respondents (45 percent) are using AppDynamics to monitor their container environment. Another 31 percent are using Prometheus or DataDog. Splunk was the fourth most popular monitoring tool at 27 percent, followed by Vistara at 23 percent.

“The results of our survey indicate that container adoption is on the rise and leading to cost savings and efficiency gains for many IT organizations,” said Chris Joseph, vice president of product management and marketing, NetEnrich. “However, companies are still grappling with issues such as integration, security and management when it comes to container tech. This will likely continue until the skillsets of internal IT staff catch up to the market. In the meantime, companies are benefiting from the support of outside consultants and service providers.”