Container Survey: IT Operations Teams Finally Get It

A survey of 500 IT leaders published this week by Diamanti, a provider of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) platform for containerized applications, finds 35% of respondents said IT operations teams are now driving container adoption—an 18% increase from a similar survey Diamanti published a year ago. That compares to platform architects (22%), developers (16%) and integrated DevOps teams (9%) who are driving container adoption.

The survey finds the top use case for containers to be cloud-native applications (33%), followed closely by databases (32%). Respondents are running containers in a wide range of environments that include on-premises (45%), public cloud (37%) and private cloud (29%).

The container survey also finds more than 25% of respondents are now investing more than $250,000 per year on container technologies, which compares to 44% who are spending less than $50,000. For enterprises investing $100,000 or more on containers, 43% plan to move some workloads to containers, which 26% said they intend to move most workloads to containers.

Among companies investing more than $100,000 on containers, 34% deploy them on bare-metal servers. More than half of those respondents (56%) cited higher performance as the primary reason, followed by 36% citing lower cost. In total, 21% of respondents running containers on bare-metal said their motivation is to reduce virtual machine software licensing expenses.

Fred Love, vice president of marketing for Diamanti, says that increased reliance on bare-metal servers is indicative of IT organizations starting to appreciate the full potential of container platforms. While it’s relatively simple to deploy containers on a virtual machine, there are emerging classes of containerized applications that simply can’t afford the additional performance overhead that virtual machines and guest operating systems add to a container stack, he notes. Achieving that goal requires IT operations teams to become more familiar with running container platforms such as Kubernetes on a bare-metal platform.

However, the container adoption survey respondents who have deployed Kubernetes on a bare-metal server report management complexity is the biggest challenge (36%) followed by time-to-deploy and keeping software up to date, both tied at 22%.

While Kubernetes is widely adopted in the enterprise today, the percentage of workloads running on Kubernetes remains comparatively light. Even fewer of those workloads are running on bare-metal servers versus virtual machines. However, as enterprise IT organizations become more familiar with Kubernetes in the months and years ahead, it’s only a matter of time before organizations deploy Kubernetes on bare-metal servers more broadly.

Much like other container adoption surveys, the three top challenges to container adoption found are security (30%), infrastructure integration (26%) and deployment (21%). Another significant factor is a general skills shortage, which was cited by 24% of respondents as a major inhibitor.

As an emerging technology in the enterprise, containers are going through all the same growth pains that virtual machines encountered more than two decades or more ago. The only real difference is organizations are experiencing those growing pains a lot faster than they did with any other technology in recent memory.

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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