Survey: Containers are Hot, Scaling is Tough

Container adoption continues to rise, but organizations find that containers make infrastructure more complex rather than more simple. That’s according to a new survey report about international container adoption trends from the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

The report, which the Cloud Foundry Foundation released June 16, was based on a survey of 711 companies with at least 100 employees. The businesses surveyed were spread across seven countries (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Japan and Korea) and five language zones (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German and English).

The most interesting findings included:

  • 64 percent of companies plan to “mainstream” their use of containers within the next year.
  • 82 percent of respondents believe that “containers can be a challenge to get to scale.”
  • 80 percent of respondents said that “except in simple use cases containers are complicated.”

Survey Notes Complexity

The survey results suggest, first, that there is strong global interest in container adoption. That’s not surprising; similar surveys in recent months—including one from Shippable and another from NGINX—have reached the same conclusion.

What’s notable from the Cloud Foundry Foundation survey, however, is the disconnect between the popularity of containers and interpretations of their ability to simplify infrastructure. Even though a majority of companies surveyed plan to adopt containers soon, more than four-fifths of respondents also view containers as a complicated technology to implement—especially, it seems, because they are concerned about the challenges of running containers at scale.

Given the current state of the container ecosystem, those concerns may not be overly surprising. Good tools for large-scale container orchestration exist, such as Kubernetes and Docker Compose. But they’re still new enough that they may not be as feature-rich as desired. It’s also likely that many organizations lack the in-house expertise with container orchestrators that they will need to feel comfortable implementing large-scale container environments.

Some organizations may choose to minimize container orchestration headaches altogether by adopting cloud-based container solutions. That’s what Cloud Foundry, which develops an open-source platform as a service (PaaS), expects. “This survey is a snapshot of the earliest days in the journey for most enterprises as they shift to cloud-first business models,” said Sam Ramji, CEO of Cloud Foundry Foundation.

But the evolution of container management tools will also benefit companies that choose to deploy containers on their own infrastructure. Doing so may be complicated now, especially at scale. But it’s only going to get easier as orchestration platforms mature.

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 and

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