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HIT Container Growth Slow But Hopeful as Management Solutions Mature

HIT containers have huge infrastructure benefits, but organizations are not adopting them quickly because of complex deployment requirements.

HIT containers

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations are enthusiastic and optimistic about HIT containers for managing applications. However, adoption is hindered by the complexity of deploying, managing, and orchestrating containers at scale.

The Cloud Foundry report, Hope Versus Reality, One Year Later juxtaposes last year’s container predictions with the year’s results. The survey polled over 540 enterprise developers across all major verticals including healthcare.

“We see the same steady growth in interest but actual adoption of containers has still failed to take off,” survey authors stated. “Most companies’ container adoption remains in the early or limited stages.”

"In the 2016 Container Report, we saw the excitement around containers and their potential —yet this excitement was constrained by the complex challenges of deploying, managing and orchestrating containers at scale," Cloud Foundry Foundation Executive Director Abby Kearns said in a statement.

In 2016, 53 percent of respondents were either using containers or evaluating them for deployment. In 2017, users and evaluators increased to 67 percent which shows growth, but does not match the projected growth based in interest in 2016.

Interest in containers continues to grow as the 2017 survey saw more participants than the 2016 survey, however there has been no dramatic increase in containers over the past year.

Containers make managing applications easier but if the technology is too complex to manage and deploy. Containers give IT administrators an easier time managing applications, but adds more work to their plates because they have to spin up and deploy containers in the data center.

Containers are more secure by design than other application management methods, making them an asset to any health IT infrastructure. They help organizations build better and more applications.

Cloud Foundry predicted an increased rate of uptake in container technology over the coming year despite the minimal growth of enterprise containers over the past year. Survey authors maintained that as container technology becomes more mature, so do the ways of overcoming management and orchestration challenges.

Cloud Foundry still expects and increased uptake in containers as the technology evolves to address the challenged many organizations are facing with management and orchestration.

“As enterprises have begun to adopt containers, the discussion is shifting from ‘why containers’ to ‘how containers.’ This ‘how’ conversation will drive larger scale adoption as organizations move forward,” survey authors explained.

Last year, there were not many enterprise-ready solutions for managing Docker containers. This left organizations without a lot of options for container management that weren’t provider-managed container services.

This year, 53 percent of organizations using containers were managing them with either a container service (i.e. AWS EC2 or GCE) or a provider-managed PaaS, like IBM Bluemix or Microsoft Azure.

Fifteen percent of respondents used self-managed container tools such as Kubernetes, Hashicorp Nomad, Docker Swarm, and Mesos.

The survey also indicated that Kubernetes is on the rise for open source container management and grew in adoption by nearly 200 percent over the past year. Kubernetes (K8s) is a “platform for automating deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts.”

Eighteen percent of enterprises using containers use open source Kubernetes orchestrate their containers.

“As more companies look to Kubernetes to orchestrate their containers, it will be increasingly important for any platform to provide users the flexibility and control to deliver apps in any language and framework, and at their preferred pace,” said survey authors. “Enterprises should be able to ship whatever they want, whenever, wherever and however they want, and rest assured their applications are safe.”

The survey concluded that while there is increasing interest in containers, enterprises lag behind in adoption. However, the improvement on container management solutions and the availability of open source management options such as Kubernetes may improve adoption rates over the next year.

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