Containers? What are containers?

1/3 of survey respondents are using containers, 8% don’t know what they are

Surveys of IT users are a dime a dozen, but every once in a while one pops with a surprising statistic. Like this one: A poll of more than 300 IT works by UBM found that 8% didn’t event know what an application container is.

Containers have been the buzzword du jour for the past couple of years in cloud and application development circles. But surveys like this independent are a reminder that new technology is slow to catch on.

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container usage ubm cloud UBM Interop ITX

UBM Interop ITX State of the Cloud Report shows that about one third of respondents said they are using or plan to use containers. 8% don't know what they are. 

About 1/3 of respondents said they were using containers, 7% said they were in production, with 15% testing them. About another 1/3 – 30% - had no plans of using containers, while 1/7 were “not considering, but curious” about the technology.

For those not in the know, application containers are a way for developers to package code into executable “containers.” Instead of writing code that makes up an app and running it directly on a server, it would be packaged in a container and then run on the server. The advantage is that developers can deploy them anywhere their runtime is supported. For example, an application packaged in a Docker container (which is the name of both an open source container runtime and the company that is commercializing support for it) could run as easily on a developer’s laptop as it runs in a public cloud. Containers also spin up faster than a virtual machine and allow for more efficient utilization of resources because many containers can be packed into a single virtual or physical machine.

Despite some people not evening knowing what containers are, researchers expect it will be a big deal. 451 Research recently estimated that the application container market was $762 million last year, and will grow to a $2.6 billion market by 2020.

The UBM Interop IXT State of the Cloud Report was conducted in December 2016 and surveyed more than 300 users who had indicated they’re using or plan to use cloud computing. It had some other interesting stats too, specifically comparing use of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS. 70% of respondents said they’re using SaaS; 57% said they’re using IaaS and 44% said they’re using PaaS. Of those, 40% said they’re also using a private cloud.

For more information on containers, check out our FAQ explanation of how they work, our guide to container networking, a debate on whether they will kill virtual machines and 12 hot container startups.

As the results show, the technology is still in the early days. So, if you haven’t hopped on the container bandwagon yet, don’t fret.

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