App Container Market Forecast to Reach $4.2B by 2022

A new report from 451 Research predicts a significant increase in the number of IT organizations deploying containers in the coming year will drive a 30 percent compound annual increase in the size of the application market through 2022.

The 451 Research report forecasts the application container market will increase from $2.1 billion in 2019 to more than $4.3 billion by 2022. The research finds that only 19 percent of the organizations it tracks are using containers in a production environment. Another 19 percent have proof of concepts underway, while a further 7 percent say they have plans to adopt containers in the next 12 months.

For the most part, the transition to containers is been driven by developers. But as containers start to proliferate, Lyman says IT operations teams are now rapidly coming up to speed. Many of those IT operations teams have specific mandates to keep developers happy in the hope that developers will not bypass IT operations teams entirely, as more workloads are deployed in the cloud.

Jay Lyman, principal analyst for 451 Research, says that rate of transition has created something of a feeding frenzy among IT vendors. There are now 184 vendors competing in the container space today, which represent a nearly 50 percent increase since 2016. As more vendors enter the category, more sales and marketing resources are focused on spurring container adoption—which, Lyman notes, collectively serves to help increase adoption. Because of the complexity associated with containers and Kubernetes, many IT organizations will prefer to lean on a vendor to provide commercial support, he says.

Less clear is the degree to which organizations will rely on managed services to manage platforms such as the Kubernetes clusters on which containers are typically deployed, he adds. Most IT organizations today don’t have a lot of depth in terms of container expertise. Lyman believes there will be more reliance on managed services in the future, but it’s unclear to the degree organizations will rely on, for example, cloud service providers to manage Kubernetes deployments on their behalf.

The transition to containers also will require more organizations to confront other operational issues, including how much they embrace modern best practices for DevOps. Lyman says central IT organizations are now driving implementation of DevOps processes as part of an effort to consistently apply DevOps at significantly more ambitious scale. Although transitioning to containers and other cloud-native technologies doesn’t require organizations to embrace DevOps more fully, it does tend to force this issue as IT environments become more complex.

As is often the case with enterprise IT, the transition to containers will be an extended journey. IT organizations will evaluate the suitability of each individual workload before deciding to build and deploy it as a set of microservices or rely on existing approaches to building monolithic applications. Over time, however, it’s apparent that most monolithic applications eventually will be transformed into a set of more easily consumed microservices based on containers. The only real issue is whether to embrace the almost inevitable now or put that transition off for another day.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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