Global Cloud-Native Adoption Continues to Rise

A new report from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) highlights the explosive growth in the global cloud-native developer population, which has grown by 1 million in the last 12 months, according to the Q3 2021 State of Cloud Native Development Report.

The report, developed for CNCF by SlashData, is based on the 21st edition of SlashData’s Developer Nation survey, which was fielded between June 2021 and August 2021 and reached more than 19,300 developers globally. There are now more than 7.1 million cloud-native developers worldwide; an increase of 51% from CNCF’s first report in May 2020 when there were 4.7 million cloud-native developers.

There are a number of reasons for this surge in developers and the growth of cloud-native adoption. Cloud-native allows organizations to act with unprecedented agility and has pushed developmental efficiency to new heights. The impact of this innovation is evident in its rapid adoption rate, but this may be just the beginning of its growth.  

“This evolution is happening even faster than I expected,” said Joe Fernandes, vice president of Red Hat’s Core Cloud Platforms. “If you look at the adoption of containers or Kubernetes compared to past innovations, like virtualization back in the early 2000s, it’s really grown tremendously fast just over the last five years.”

Fernandes noted the rise of cloud-native back in 2020, and this growth has persisted. The rising adoption rate is driven by a need for faster, more fluid development, which cloud-native architecture can enable. Although there are many organizations that still function without cloud-native applications, monolithic architecture continues to fall out of favor as microservices become the norm. 

The majority of organizations have already started to migrate their monolithic systems, applications and architectures to microservices, and many more are looking to begin that transition,” said Mary Treseler, vice president of content strategy at O’Reilly. “Breaking a monolith into microservices has clear engineering benefits including improved flexibility, simplified scaling and easier management—all of which result in better customer experiences.”

Gartner estimates that 90% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production by 2026—up from 40% in 2021. In addition, by 2026, 20% of all enterprise applications will run in containers—up from fewer than 10% in 2020.

This shift also influences interest in organizations like CNCF that foster the growth of cloud-native development. CNCF announced it hit the 800-member milestone at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2022. With the addition of 37 new organizations, it continues to make strides in the global technology landscape by supporting cloud-native projects like Kubernetes, Envoy and Prometheus, among others

“We are thrilled to welcome so many Europe-based organizations this quarter as our global community convenes in Spain for the first in-person KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe in three years,” said Priyanka Sharma, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “We are humbled to see the continued momentum in our diverse ecosystem of doers and look forward to working together to foster and sustain our growing number of projects.” 

Along with being a medium for vendors, end users are also joining CNCF. 

“The crown jewel in this entire ecosystem is the largest end-user community enjoyed by any open source foundation in the world,” said Sharma. “We have a virtuous cycle of end users, project creators and enhancers building and using cloud-native tech.” 

By joining the CNCF end-user community, organizations can connect with peers facing similar challenges, recruit talented engineers and enhance their open source strategy. 

Although the future adoption rate of cloud-native and microservices is still up in the air, all signs point to it continuing full steam ahead, especially with the help of organizations like CNCF. 


Natan Solomon

Natan is a journalism student at the University of Florida and is expected to graduate in 2024. He plans on attending law school after graduation and wants to eventually become a best-selling author. When he’s not writing, he loves to watch hockey and listen to rock music.

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