What’s Next for Containers? A Few Predictions

As the container market evolves, here are four predictions worth consideration

Docker is more than 6 years old. The ascent of Kubernetes is increasingly feeling like old news. But that doesn’t mean the container ecosystem is done evolving.

On the contrary, there are lots of ways in which containers, and the technology culture surrounding them, are poised to keep evolving. Here are four container predictions I believe will come to pass.

More (and Better) Windows Containers

Native Docker containers for Windows were a big deal when they became available in 2016. Since then, the fervor over Windows containers has perhaps died down somewhat—due in part, I think, to the fact that Windows containers are less exciting than their Linux-based counterparts.

But I also don’t think that Windows containers have finished evolving. Going forward, especially as newer versions of Windows Server are rolled out, I expect that Microsoft will continue investing in support for native containers on its operating system and beefing up support for managing Windows-based clusters with Kubernetes.

More Runtimes

Docker was the runtime that made containerization famous. Since Docker’s debut, however, lots of other container runtimes have emerged.

Expect this list to continue to grow as more organizations roll out their very own runtimes with the goal of filling particular niches. That said, though, I suspect that most workloads will continue to depend on the runtimes that dominate today, such as Docker and containerd.

Kubernetes Loses Steam

Kubernetes’s popularity is well-deserved. But as Kubernetes sees more and more adoption, I suspect that the platform will cease to be as cool as it is today.

After all, developers once thought Heroku was the greatest thing ever, or that cloud-based virtual machines would solve every problem on earth. Today, those technologies seem mundane—despite the fact that they remain widely used.

This isn’t to say that Kubernetes will be replaced by another orchestrator. And I certainly don’t think Kubernetes is going away. I just don’t think everyone’s going to be nearly as excited about Kubernetes five years from now.

I’d say the same thing about service meshes, by the way …

Container Security Becomes a Commodity

Containers require a new approach to security, for a multitude of reasons. To date, the topic of container security and its unique challenges have been the focus of much discussion among IT security folks—not to mention several companies.

There are good reasons for this. Container security is a special beast.

However, if containers are going to be scalable, their security needs must be addressed by broader security processes. In other words, we’ll have to use the same systems and strategies to secure containers that we use for everything else.

To do this, container security must become a commodity. In the future, I suspect that we’ll stop dwelling on how special container security is or look for security platforms dedicated primarily to securing containers. Instead, we’ll integrate containers into the rest of our security workflows.

Christopher Tozzi

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.

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