Virtualization Technology News and Information
Container Usage in Production Increases 96% Over Past Year; Significant Financial Investment in Containers With Room to Grow

The second annual Container Market Adoption survey and research report commissioned by ClusterHQ and conducted by showed a 96 percent uptake in container usage in production, as compared to last year's survey, with an overwhelming majority using Docker (94%) as their container engine.

Additional key findings include:

  • Of respondents who had knowledge of their company's financial investment into containers, 52% reported that their company is making a financial investment, sometimes in the millions of dollars.

  • Of the respondents who say they have been making a monetary investment in containers, the majority (56%) report that this has been occurring for less than a year.  

  • 72 percent of organizations using containers met or exceeded business and IT objectives, while on average only 63 percent of respondents not using containers achieved both business and IT goals.

  • Persistent storage was reported as the number one barrier to container adoption this year, ahead of security

These results not only serve as a proof point for the viability of emerging container technologies, but also show that there is a huge market opportunity for increased growth and that organizations using containers may be gaining a competitive advantage. To access the complete survey report visit:, a central resource for DevOps education and community building, polled 310 people, 41 percent of whom identified as developers, followed by DevOps team members (35%), operations team members (13%), other (9%), security (<1%) and QA (<1%). Respondents came from companies ranging in size from 1 to 100 employees (44%), 101-500 employees (21%), 501-2500 employees (12%), 2501-5000 employees (6%), 5001-10,000 employees (6%) and 10,000+ employees (10%). The wide distribution from SMBs to enterprises indicates that company size does not play a role in an organization's use of containers.

Organizations Increase Budgetary Spend on Containers

Respondents who said that their organization was making a financial investment in containers were asked to identify how long this has been occurring. Findings showed:

  • 0-6 months: 29%

  • 7-12 months: 27%

  • 13-18 months: 23%

  • 19-24 months: 4%

  • More than 24 months: 12%

  • Don't know: 6%

This shows that over half (56%) of respondents who answered this question said their company has only been making a monetary investment for less than a year, confirming the rapid pace of container adoption that is reported anecdotally.

In addition to asking respondents how long they have been making a financial investment in containers, the survey asked how much of an investment is being made. A small group stated that they are spending more than $500,000 dollars a year on personnel (12%), or license and user fees (5%) for containers, while most reported spending less, indicating substantial room for commercial growth by container companies. As businesses continue to put containers into production, the level of investment will likely track other technology categories that have come before.

Companies are reportedly spending more money annually on personnel expenses related to containers (e.g. hiring developers), than they are in license and user fees. When asked to identify investments made in container technologies, those that answered indicated:

Personnel Expenses

  • $0-10,000: 25%

  • $10,001-100,000: 17%

  • $100,101-500,000: 6.5%

  • $500,001-1M: 6.5%

  • $1M+: 6.5%

  • Don't know: 39%

License and User Fees

  • $0-10,000: 28%

  • $10,001-100,000: 18%

  • $100,101-500,000: 9%

  • $500,001-1M: 1%

  • $1M+: 4%

  • Don't know: 40%

Still Barriers to Overcome to Full Container Adoption

This year's research also reveals a dramatic shift in the barriers to container adoption. In 2015, 61 percent of respondents cited security as the largest barrier to adoption, followed by data management (53%) and networking (51%). The 2016 survey reports that persistent storage - a challenge that arises when containers running databases are deployed in production environments - is now the most difficult challenge when it comes to deploying containers, with security falling to the third spot. In addition, survey takers who answered that their organization was not yet using containers, cited that the primary reason for this is because there is still not enough known about container technology to warrant investing resources into this space.

Kubernetes is the Most Popular Container Orchestration Tool

This year's survey findings demonstrate the growing popularity of Kubernetes for managing Docker containers. Last year, 50 percent of respondents selected Docker Swarm as the orchestration tool they would be most likely to consider, followed by Kubernetes (38%) and Mesos (35%). This year's results show that while Docker Swarm maintains a strong position, Kubernetes is the most widely used container orchestration tool. Respondents were asked to select all the container orchestration tools they currently use; findings showed that the top five were:

  • Kubernetes: 40%

  • Internally developed tools: 32%

  • Docker Swarm: 32%

  • Amazon ECS: 24%

  • Mesos: 15%

This indicates that people are still experimenting with multiple container managers to figure out which is the right tool for the job. Kubernetes was also reported as being the most frequently used tool, in comparison to the others available. The uptake in the use of Kubernetes provides market evidence that Google's investment in the industry has paid off in a short amount of time.

"Our second annual Container Market Adoption survey further demonstrates the immense growth of the container industry over the last twelve months, which is great validation for the many users, technology providers and investors who make up the market," said Mark Davis, CEO of ClusterHQ. "There is now concrete evidence that container users are not only navigating this emerging ecosystem and evaluating new solutions from a business perspective, but also meeting or exceeding business and IT objectives as a result."

The full survey polled 310 respondents. Not all respondents answered every question. Results shown are based on the percent of people who answered each individual question. Access a complete copy of the raw data from the ClusterHQ survey here

During DockerCon 2016, June 19-21 in Seattle, stop by booth G9 to take a #DockerSelfie and learn more about ClusterHQ's products and services.

Published Thursday, June 16, 2016 8:26 AM by David Marshall
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