Dan's Take

A Docker Adoption Survey Worth Reading

The results show where the push for containerization is coming from within organizations.

The folks from StackEngine reached out to me recently. They wanted me to know about a survey designed to shine a light on the adoption and use of Docker. A total of 745 people from the VMblog and CloudCow communities were surveyed. 

Here are a few key findings:

  • 65 percent of the respondents were using VMware technology in their current infrastructure
  • 40 percent identified their environment as utilizing a public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services or Rackspace
  • 34 percent are using a private cloud, such as OpenStack
  • An equal mix of Linux, Windows, bare metal or OpenStack was the underlying platform
  • The survey also shows a rise in the use of Linux, where the OS was selected nearly 32 percent of the time in contrast with those who selected Windows, which was selected at almost 23 percent. Windows is still the No. 1 OS of choice within VMware environments, so perhaps Linux is gaining in use when it comes to public and private cloud use, where more cloud technologies are making use of and embracing open source technologies
  • 70 percent of the respondents were either using or evaluating Docker
  • Initial Docker use was for QA/Test (63 percent) or Development (53 percent). Planning to use Docker in production were 31 percent of respondents
  • The primary inhibitors to the use of Docker were the security model (49 percent) and the lack of operational production tools (49 percent)

I'm always skeptical of surveys that are conducted or sponsored by a supplier. Many times, these surveys are badly designed, badly implemented and are designed as marketing tools rather than as tools to uncover the thinking behind enterprise purchasing decisions. In this case, it appears that the results are worth noting.

The questions appeared to be designed to get a better understanding of respondents' computing environments and their thinking about the use of Docker or other OS virtualization and partitioning (OSVP) tools. The sample size is large enough to be considered representative of the U.S. market. My only concern is that the communities sampled are largely VMware-centric.

Docker is an interesting implementation of OSVP, which is a new implementation of an old idea. This time, the entire supporting environment, not just a workload, is encapsulated so that it can be more easily developed and supported, managed or moved from one place to another.

Dan's Take: Will the Money Spenders Be Convinced?
The survey suggests that the decision to use Docker is coming from the middle, rather than from top executives or individual developers. The report says "according to the survey results, Docker usage is being driven in large part from the middle out, with nearly 47 percent responding that Docker decisions are being made by middle management, with another 24 percent by grassroots efforts."

The key question: Can top management and individual developers be won over to use this technology? Will top management see the improvement in overall organizational agility combined with the cost reduction they're seeking? Will individual developers be convinced that the benefits they'll get will be worth the trouble to learn about this approach and make it part of the projects they're working on now? It's still too early to know the answers, but this survey brings up some very interesting questions.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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