While Containers Move to the Mainstream, Some Roadblocks Exist on Path to Adoption

- By Matt Carter on May 03, 2016

Developers are increasing their use of containers for new applications, but a technology skills gap is impeding widespread adoption of container technology. These are two of the key findings of our latest survey on container adoption among developers. Shippable worked with independent research firm Survata to survey of 300 developers about their current and expected use of container technologies. The results were interesting in a number of ways.


Overall, containers have moved from the investigation phase into adoption mode. Eighty-nine percent of developers surveyed by Shippable said they’re “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to increase use of containers in the next 12 months. The majority of respondents (31%) to Shippable’s container survey said they are running containers on public cloud infrastructure. Private cloud was nearly as common at 30%, followed by hybrid (17%) and on-premises (2%) environments.


Efficency Gains Realized

The new research on container technology adoption shows that companies can experience exponential gains in software development productivity through the use of container technology and related tools.Container technology has become more popular as developers search for tools that accelerate release cycles and improve application flexibility.

Companies that are using containers to launch new applications say release cycles are much faster and they need fewer developers to do the same amount of work. Seventy-four percent of developers responding to the survey said they’re shipping new software at least 10% faster using container technology, and eight percent are shipping more than 50% faster than before.

Multiple Vendors, No Clear Leader

As the market takes shape, developers are looking at multiple vendors for cloud, container registry and developer tool vendors. Let's start with container registry providers. The three leading vendors are tightly grouped, with developers trying multiple registry providers. In our survey, the most popular container registries were Google Container Registry (54%), followed by Amazon EC2 Container Registry (45%) and Docker Hub (34%).

We also surveyed developers about where they were running their containers. Again, we saw three leaders and a high degree of cross-over between providers. Fifty-two percent of developers surveyed by Shippable said they’re running containerized applications on Google Compute Engine, while 49% are running on Microsoft Azure and 43% on Amazon Web Services. Finally, we looked at which other technologies were in use in container projects. 58 percent of developers surveyed by Shippable reported they are using GitHub with containers. Another 27 percent are using Atlassian, and 23 percent are using Jenkins. Puppet (23 percent) and Chef (19 percent) are also used widely.

Barriers on the Road to Adoption

Among developers not using containers today, the most common reason, according to our survey, is the lack of necessary technology skills in-house. The second most common reason given were concerns that container technology is still too immature for production use. Other developers said their infrastructure is not designed to work with containers; they were concerned about the security risks; and container technology ROI is still unproven.

To summarize, companies are realizing the productivity and flexibility gains they were expecting, and use of container technology is clearly on the rise. That said, there are still hurdles to overcome. Companies can help themselves by training internal software teams and partnering with vendors and service providers that have worked with container technology extensively.

 If you want to see more of the results of the survey, you can download an infographic with results and analysis here.

Download the Infographic

Topics: Docker, containers, Google Container Registry, amazon container services, Microsoft Azure