At this juncture it’s not so much a question of whether IT organizations will be embracing containers but rather to what degree. A new survey of over 1,800 IT professionals conducted by NGINX, a provider of open source Web server software, suggest that usage of containers is already further along than most IT leaders might fully appreciate. In fact container adoption rates are accelerating.
The NGINX survey finds that one in five IT professionals report their organizations are already using containers in a production environment. Furthermore, one third of those using containers in a production environment say they are now running more than 80 percent of their workloads on containers. That would suggest that while embracing containers requires a significant shift in thinking in terms of how IT services should be delivered, once it occurs that shift takes hold rapidly. All told, the NGINIX survey finds that two-thirds of the organizations surveyed are either investigating containers, using them in development, or using them in production.
Not surprisingly, usage of containers is also driving adoption of microservices architectures. The NGINX survey also finds that nearly 70 percent of organizations are either using or investigating microservices, with nearly one-third of them reporting that microservices are already deployed in a production environment. Perhaps of more significance is that when it comes to microservices smaller companies are moving faster than larger ones. The NGINX survey finds that half of medium companies and 44% of small companies are already using microservices in development or production compared to 36 percent for large organizations.
Peter Guagenti, chief marketing officer for NGINX, says the survey results drive home that amount of influence DevOps teams now exercise over adoption of technologies inside their organizations. As developers moved to quickly embrace containers to more rapidly deliver applications, IT organizations have been forced to adapt. For the most part that means implementing a microservices architecture that enables containers to dynamically invoke a backend service. As that trend continues to evolve many IT organizations will find themselves over time deconstructing a broad swath of backend services to make them more accessible to containers.
In addition, IT operations teams will have to come to terms with where those containers will be ultimately deployed. Today most containers run on top of virtual machines because the management tools most organizations have in place grew up around those virtual machines. But as container management tools mature there will be more containers running on bare metal servers. After all, containers running in bare metal servers will provide significantly higher server utilization rates than what can be achieved running on virtual machines. The challenge IT organizations will face is finding ways to manage containers that undoubtedly will be running on both virtual machines and bare metal servers for years to come.
Put it all together and it’s clear that containers are the tail that is now wagging much of the enterprise IT dog. The ultimate issue IT organizations need to come to terms with is to what degree they will be proactive about understanding all the implications the shift to containers entail versus passively waiting for what is now the inevitable to actually occur.