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Docker use is booming in cloud survey








By Tim Clark and John Katsaros


Surprise, surprise. Usage of Docker is surging.


That highly expected finding emerged from the 2016 State of the Cloud Report from cloud management provider RightScale, which annually conducts an in-house survey that acts as a noteworthy yardstick for cloud computing.

Beyond Docker and perhaps more consequentially:  It’s no longer security that holds back cloud adoption. Instead the new issue is a lack of resources or expertise in cloud technologies.  “The lack of resources/expertise is now the #1 cloud challenge (cited by 32%), supplanting security (cited by 29%),” according to RightScale’s January 2016 survey of 1,060 technical professionals.  


RightScale linked Docker’s “spreading like wildfire” to the DevOps movement, especially in the enterprise. DevOps is now being adopted by 74% of organizations, up from 66% in 2015. In enterprises of 1,000 or more employees, 81% are adopting DevOps.


Docker is being used by 27%, but an additional 35% of respondents plan to use Docker. Year over year, Docker usage more than doubled, from 13% to 27%. Ansible, a technology acquired by Red Hat, was used by 20%, doubling its 2015 figure of 10%.


Among large enterprises, Docker was used for its different approach to configuration management by 29% of enterprises with another 38% planning to use it. Among configuration software vendors, Puppet was used by 42%, Chef by 37% and Ansible by 23%. Compared to 2015, Ansible showed the strongest growth among enterprises (8% to 23%) while Docker doubled on a larger base (14% to 29%). Puppet, Chef, and Salt also showed solid growth.


Among SMBs, Chef’s 28% edged Docker at 26% and Puppet 25%. Another 33% planned to use Docker. Compared to last year, Docker usage doubled from 13% to 26%.


Container orchestration tools are still in the early phases of adoption with the top three technologies being Kubernetes (7%), Docker Swarm (6%) and Mesosphere (4%).

In private cloud responses, VMware’s vSphere accounted for 44% of usage, with VMware vCloud Suite and OpenStack tied for second at 19%.  Bare-metal clouds are being used by 15% while 29% of respondents are experimenting with or plan to use OpenStack, and 27% plan to use Microsoft Azure Pack.                                                                  

RightScale’s survey gives some indication over several years about which products are popular and trending up or down.  However, they may mislead due to the problem of who responds and how do the authors reduce respondent redundancy. (The same company may respond multiple times while another company simply doesn’t). 

In any case, some data is better than nothing at all and the fact that RightScale has been doing this each year helps make the results more useful. In any case some data is better than no data when it comes to trying to provide decision makers with useful information.