Survey: Container Adoption Steady, But Lack of Skills Remains A Concern

Who’s using containers, and what are they using them for? Just as importantly, who’s not yet using containers, and why? A survey out this week from continuous integration provider Shippable offers some crucial insight on current container adoption trends.

Seattle-based Shippable announced the survey results on May 3. The data are based on responses from developers that the company collected online in March and April 2016.

Key findings include:

  • 52 percent of respondents are currently using containers in production.
  • 14 percent are using containers in development or testing environments.
  • 89 percent reported being at least “somewhat likely” to expand use of containers going forward.

These results seem to confirm the figures regarding container adoption that were revealed by Docker in a similar survey last month.

At the same time, the Shippable survey adds perspective to the findings of another recent survey, this one by NGINX, which reported container adoption for production environments to be around only 20 percent (although it also suggested that that figure would rise steadily). It seems likely that this discrepancy reflects NGINX’s focus in its survey on a broader ecosystem. The company surveyed IT professionals about a range of technologies, from cloud infrastructure to security, rather than just containers. Shippable’s online survey presumably attracted developers who are already involved in CI solutions, of which containers are a major part.

Also notable from the Shippable survey are clues about why some developers are not yet using containers. The most popular reasons respondents gave for having not adopted containers included:

  • Lack of the requisite skills in-house.
  • Belief that container technology is still too immature.

They also mentioned some other reasons, which were less common than the preceding ones:

  • Current infrastructure is not designed to work with containers.
  • Concern about container security risks.
  • ROI from containers is not yet proven.

The fact that these were the least common rationales given for not adopting containers suggests that developers have become less worried about issues like container security and compatibility. Those used to be valid points of concern, but container technology has now advanced beyond them, and organizations appear to be appreciating this change.

Overall, the survey findings paint a clear picture showing that containers are an established presence in some organizations, yet continue to face significant adoption barriers at others. Those barriers stem especially from lack of skills and a persistent general belief that container technology is not yet fully developed, even though it is clear that it is making strides.

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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