August 20, 2017

Containers have made lots of headlines, but how many organizations are actually using them in production data centers? So far, only about one in five — but that figure is set to rise rapidly, according to recent survey results from NGINX.

The survey, which queried about 1,800 IT professionals, collected information about a range of current data center trends, from cloud infrastructure to security practices.

But the most interesting results involved containers and microservices. NGINX found that adoption of container and microservice software is currently limited. Only twenty percent of respondents said they are using containers in production, while about one-third are doing the same for microservices.

But the evidence suggests that those numbers will climb. A full two-thirds of organizations reported that they are investigating containers, if they are not already using them. Seventy percent of respondents said the same thing about microservices.

These figures suggest that, even though container and microservices adoption rates remain relatively small at the moment, these technologies are on the verge of seeing much more widespread entry into production environments.

Also notable is the survey’s finding that “developers are taking charge and are gaining more decision-making power in the organization, with 74 percent of respondents saying developers are responsible for choosing the organization’s application development and delivery tools,” according to summary data provided by NGINX.

As DevOps team gain more influence over the types of technologies that enter their data centers, they are likely to prefer solutions like containers and microservices, which promise large efficiencies in application development and deployment.

The survey results do not offer many details about exactly which types of container and microservices solutions are leading the charge as more organizations study or implement such software. There was no indication of how Docker containers are faring compared to CoreOS’s competing platform, for instance. And NGINX was not specific regarding how it defines microservices. So, while the survey identified general trends, there remains much to learn about the specifics.

Nonetheless, the survey results provide solid proof that containers are now passing from the development phase and into production. To be sure, more work remains to be done to make all dimensions of the container stack reliable, secure and user-friendly enough to work for all organizations. But the momentum seems to be in containers’ favor.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.