Exponential Docker usage shows container popularity

Global Container TradeAdoption of Docker’s containerisation technology has entered a period of explosive growth with its usage numbers nearly doubling in the last three months, according to its latest figures.

A declaration on the company blog reports that Docker has now issued 2 billion ‘pulls’ of images. In November 2015 the usage figure stood at 1.2 bullion pulls and the Docker Hub from which these images are pulled was only launched in March 2013.

Docker’s invention of software defined autonomous complete file system that encapsulates all the elements of a server in microcosm – such as code, runtime, system tools and system libraries – has whetted the appetite of developers in the age of the cloud.

In January 2016, Docker users pulled images nearly 7,000 times per minute, which was four times the run rate a year ago. In that one month Docker enjoyed the equivalent of 15% of its total transaction from the past three years.

The number of ‘pulls’ is significant because each of these transactions indicates that a Docker engine is downloading an image to create containers from it. Development teams use Docker Hub to publish and use containerised software, and automate their delivery. The fact that two billion pulls have now taken place indicates the popularity of the technology and the exponential growth rate in the last three months is an indicator of the growing popularity of this variation of virtualisation.

There are currently over 400,000 registered users on Docker Hub. “Our users span from the largest corporations, to newly-launched startups, to the individual Docker enthusiast and their number is increasing every day,” wrote Docker spokesman and blog author Mario Ponticello.

Around a fifth of Docker’s two billion pulls come from its 93 ‘Official Repos’ – a curated set of images from Docker’s partners, including NGINX, Oracle, Node.js and Cloudbees. Docker’s security-monitoring service Nautilus maintains integrity of the Official Repos over time.

“As our ecosystem grows, we’ll be adding single-click deployment and security scanning to the Docker platform,” said Monticello.

A Rightscale study in January 2016 found that 17% of enterprises now have more than 1,000 virtual machines in the public cloud (up 4% in a year) while private clouds are showing even stronger appetite for virtualisation techniques with 31% of enterprises running more than 1,000 VMs, up from 22% in 2015.