Container Adoption Starts to Outpace DevOps

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A new survey finds the number of organizations using containers is poised to pass the number of organizations employing DevOps processes in the months ahead. Less clear, however, is the degree to which adoption of containers will force organizations to embrace DevOps.

The survey of 601 IT decision-makers conducted by ClearPath Strategies on behalf of the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) finds that 32 percent of respondents have adopted containers and are employing DevOps processes. But the number of respondents who plan to adopt or evaluate containers in the next 12 months is 25 percent, while 17 percent are planning to adopt or evaluate DevOps processes. Overall, the survey finds that within the next two years, 72 percent of respondents either already are or expect to be using containers. That compares to 66 percent who say the same for DevOps.

The total number of organizations that have broadly adopted containers stands at 18 percent, while another 40 percent have deployed containers on a limited basis. Another 40 percent said they are still in the early stages.

Overall, the survey finds IT organizations are now more willing than ever to employ a broad mix of application development platforms. More than one-third (39 percent) of the survey respondents report using a combination of PaaS, containers and serverless technologies. A total of 64 percent report using PaaS and containers, while 43 percent report using PaaS and serverless and 42 percent report using containers and serverless.

What’s more, 47 percent say they are currently employing a PaaS environment, while 30 percent say they are evaluating or in the early stages of deployment. Twenty-eight percent say they have broadly deployed a PaaS environment.

Interest in serverless computing frameworks is also starting to surge. Only 11 percent of respondents say they are using serverless computing frameworks today, but 35 percent are evaluating at least one.

Interestingly. more than one-third (39 percent) of respondents say they are using a combination of containers, PaaS environments and serverless computing frameworks, which indicates a high correlation of adoption of cloud-native computing technologies. In fact, well over half (57 percent) of IT decision-makers report their companies are building new cloud-native applications as well as refactoring existing applications. Only 13 percent are relying on refactoring applications alone.

CFF CTO Chip Childers says it’s clear most organizations are no longer simply trying to “lift and shift” existing on-premises applications into the cloud. The benefits of cloud technologies are only fully realized when organizations either build a new application or modernize an existing one in a way that is optimized for a cloud platform, says Childers.

It’s still unclear how much organizations will rely on PaaS environments versus emerging container-as-a-service (CaaS) environments. PaaS environments are rapidly absorbing a variety of containers technologies such as Kubernetes. In the case of Cloud Foundry, Childers notes there is already a distribution from SUSE that enables Cloud Foundry to be deployed on top of Kubernetes. Alternatively, an effort is underway to allow organizations to swap out the container orchestration engine developed by the CFF for Kubernetes.

Regardless of the path chosen, it’s clear that application development is going through an unprecedented period of transformation at a much faster rate than anyone would have anticipated a few short years ago.

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