U.S. enterprises increasingly are adopting containers to streamline their applications workflows, with many turning to container services and solutions providers to help them get full value from this cloud-native technology, according to a report by Information Services Group (ISG).
The report for the U.S. finds enterprises in the country taking a wide variety of approaches to adopting and integrating containers. In some cases, enterprises work to develop container resources in house by training employees in the technology or hiring engineers with expertise, while others look to service providers to ramp up their container operations.
“Many companies start with the use of a small cluster on a developer’s computer, then graduate to hyperscale cloud container services,” said Blair Hanley Frank, principal analyst with ISG Research, and co-author of the report.
“Enterprises have several choices when they adopt containers, including whether to use one public cloud vendor or pursue a multicloud or hybrid cloud approach.”
Use of containers often means cultural and organizational changes
In addition to new technical skills, the use of containers often means significant cultural and organizational changes within an enterprise, the report adds. In some cases, developers will be responsible for writing and maintaining containerized applications, while another team is charged with keeping the container platform up and running.
This split in duties is an expansion of the DevOps approach that many enterprises have been adopting in recent years, but many companies have not yet completed their transition to DevOps, creating challenges for companies embracing containers.
The most successful container service providers are not only able to bring advanced skills to their clients, but they also help clients evolve their approaches to software development, the report says. Leaders in the container space are able to provide training resources to help clients best use containers.
In the area of managed container services, providers are offering a wide spectrum of services to meet enterprise demands, the report says. In some cases, a managed services provider simply deploys and maintains a container platform on behalf of a client, and on the other end of the spectrum, providers are both operating the platform while building and maintaining applications inside containers.
Paid Kubernetes container platforms are worth the investment
In addition, the report finds that paid Kubernetes container platforms are worth the investment for most enterprises. While it may be tempting for enterprises to operate their own Kubernetes platform, the amount of time spent on maintaining those platforms can be significant. Commercially available Kubernetes platforms offer features such as simplified management, role-based access controls and improved graphical interfaces.
The report also sees multicluster and multicloud Kubernetes platforms as the future, because enterprises using Kubernetes need their software to handle the full breadth of possible approaches to using the technology. These platforms must streamline the process of deploying and managing workloads across multiple Kubernetes clusters in different cloud environments, and enterprises are operating multiple clusters in production to help with workload isolation.
U.S. enterprises beyond the proof-of-concept stage are often turning to public cloud platforms’ managed container offerings, the report says. These services are powerful on-ramps to using Kubernetes and other container technologies because they help remove some of the complexity involved with deploying and managing clusters.
As more enterprises use containerized applications in production, the need for observability solutions is growing, the report says. Many application performance monitoring providers have integrated observability approaches into their platforms. Dedicated observability players are being acquired by these providers or are moving into the application monitoring space themselves.