[DZone Research] Containers, Docker, and Popular Tools

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[DZone Research] Containers, Docker, and Popular Tools

We take a look at some of the data from our 2018 Containers Survey to see how developers are using containers, and which containers they prefer.

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This article is part of the Key Research Findings from the 2018 DZone Guide to Containers: Development and Management.


For our 2018 DZone Guide to Containers, we surveyed 711 software professionals, asking a range of questions related to the topic of containers. In this article, we take a look at what these developers told us about how they use containers, the prevalence of Docker, and the tools/methodologies they use when working with containers.

Containerize Me, Captain!

45% of  respondents  told us that their organization is  currently  using container technology, while  another  18% told us that their organization is  considering adopting containers.  Of those who use containers,  they appear to be rather heavily utilized throughout the development process.  87% of container users  told us they use the  technology  in development environments,  73%  in a DevOps environment, 63% in  QA/testing, and 54% in  staging.  The environments across which these containers are run is also rather evenly distributed. 51% of organizations  house  their  containers  on a hosted cloud, 48% on a private cloud, and 45% on local hardware.   A majority (61%) of respondents whose organizations  use containers said they typically run one to 100 containers in production. Breaking this  down, 44%  of  containerized respondents work for organizations that have containerized 1-25% of their workload, and 20% work in organizations with a containerized workload of 26-50%. Thus, 64% of respondents work in organizations that have containerized no more than half of  their  workload.   

Whale Watching

Among those who use containers, there is an overwhelming majority (91%) who use Docker, and 19% who use DockerEnterprise. The container technology LXC came in a distant third with 5% of responses. And of those organizations that are currently evaluating and considering container technology, 90% are looking at Docker, 18% at DockerEnterprise, and 6% at Solaris Zones.

While Docker reigns supreme as a container technology, there was less of a consensus among respondents when it came to container-based methodologies and tools (though Docker-based solutions still proved exceedingly popular). In terms of orchestration/management technologies, 53% of respondents chose Kubernetes (which saw a massive jump from a 35% adoption rate in our 2017 Containers Survey), with DockerSwarm (29%) and Amazon ECS (28%) coming in second and third, respectively. Interestingly, of those developers who told us that they use Docker for their containers, 49% use Kubernetes as their orchestration/management tool and only 25% used Docker’s own orchestration tool, Docker Swarm. For those organizations still evaluating orchestration/management technologies, 57% are considering Kubernetes, 33% DockerSwarm, and 30% Amazon ECS. When it comes to container registries, Docker products fair better. Of those organizations using containers, 43% use DockerHub for their registries, with 21% opting for Nexus and 20% choosing Artifactory. If we again compare these numbers to those organizations we know use Docker, we see that 53% of Docker users opt for Docker Hub for their container registries. Of those respondents who told us that their organizations are still evaluating their registry needs, Docker Hub is far and away the most popular choice for consideration, with a selection rate of 54%; the second most popular choice for this category was Nexus, chosen by 18% of respondents.


In a study carried out in March by our friends of Sysdig, it was found that 83% of those surveyed used Docker as their container runtime. Additionally, they found that 51% of respondents use Kubernetes for orchestration within their Docker containers, whereas only 11% of respondents use Docker for orchestration of Docker containers. Crazy, right?! 

The similarity of Sysdig's findings to our own suggests that the state of containers is essentially a tale of two technologies: Docker and Kubernetes. What's been your experience with containerization and orchestration tools? 

This article is part of the Key Research Findings from the 2018 DZone Guide to Containers: Development and Management.

cloud, containers, docker, dzone research

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