Container adoption hindered by skills gap – survey

Empty road and containers in harbor at sunsetNew research from Shippable has highlighted the use of containers is increasing within the North American market, though the current skills gap is proving to be a glass ceiling for the moment.

Just over half of the respondents to the survey, said they were currently using containers in production and 14% confirmed they were using the technology in the development and testing stages. A healthy 89% believe the use of containers in their organization will increase over the next 12 months.

“Our research and personal experience shows that companies can experience exponential gains in software development productivity through the use of container technology and related tools,” said Avi Cavale, CEO at Shippable. “Companies are realizing the productivity and flexibility gains they were expecting, and use of container technology is clearly on the rise. That said, there are still hurdles to overcome. Companies can help themselves by training internal software teams and partnering with vendors and service providers that have worked with container technology extensively.”

Of those who are not using technology currently, a lack of in-house skills was listed as the main reason, however the survey highlighted security is still a concern, the ROI of the technology is still unproven, and also the company’s infrastructure is not designed to work with containers.

While the rise in awareness of containers has been relatively steady, there have been a number of reports which highlighted an unhealthy proportion of IT professionals do not understand how to use the technology, or what the business case is. The results here indicate there has at least been progress made in understanding the use case, as 74% of those who said they were using the technology are now shipping new software at least 10% faster using container technology, and eight% are shipping more than 50% faster than before.

“In the earlier years of computing, we had dedicated servers which later evolved with virtualisation,” say Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace. “Containers are part of the next evolution of servers, and have gained large media and technologist attention. In essence, containers are the lightest way to define an application and to transport it between servers. They enable an application to be sliced into small elements and distributed on one or more servers, which in turn improves resource usage and can even reduce costs.

“Containers are more responsive and can run the same task faster. They increase the velocity of application development, and can make continuous integration and deployment easier. They often offer reduced costs for IT; testing and production environments can be smaller than without containers. Plus, the density of applications on a server can be increased which leads to better utilisation.

“As a direct result of these two benefits, the scope for innovation is greater than its previous technologies. This can facilitate application modernisation and allow more room to experiment.”

The survey also showed us that while Docker maybe one of the foremost names in the containers world, this has not translated through to all aspects of usage. The most popular registry is Google Container Registry at 54%, followed by Amazon EC2 Container Registry on 45% and Docker Hub in third place with 34%. Public cloud was also the most popular platform, accounting for 31% of respondents. 52% of developers said they’re running containerized applications on Google Compute Engine, while 49% are running on Microsoft Azure and 43% on Amazon Web Services.

While containers are continuing to grow in popularity throughout the industry, the survey highlights the technology is not quite there yet. North America could be seen as more of a trend setting than Europe and the rest of the world, and the fact usage has only just tipped through 50%, there might still be some work before the technology could be considered mainstream. The results are positive, but there is still work to do.