Container technology market to grow 40% a year, analysts predict

Recent market assessment predicts application containers will grow faster than any other solution type this year and the next.

Container technologies are still a relatively small part of the overall cloud and application portability market, but this is changing rapidly. Containers are the fast-growing class of tools, growing at an annual clip of 40%. This will be one of the most widely adopted cloud tools, surpassing OpenStack, PaaS, and other offerings.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

That' the latest word from 451 Research, which projects growth in application containers, from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020.

So why are people so gaga over containers? There are lots of compelling reasons for container adoption, starting with speed. "They include speeding the configuration cycle, setup for virtual machines and application delivery cycles," says Miska Kaipiainen, CEO and founder of Kontena, in a recent post. "Containers also standardize how suppliers develop and deliver software. What is most likely to get leaders' attention, though, is the cost savings."

Despite making up a relatively small portion -- about 10% -- of what 451 calls the"cloud-enabling technologies" market (including virtualization, containers, private PaaS, and automation and management software), containers will see the fastest growth compared to other segments, the study's authors predict. The analysts put the entire cloud-enabling technologies market at $23.1 billion in 2017, which is expected to grow at a 15% annual clip to $39.6 billion by 2020. The 451 report's authors believe "enterprise adoption of containers and market maturity appears to be happening more rapidly than OpenStack and other adjacent trends, such as PaaS and DevOps."

Container revenue (in millions) will unfold as follows:

  • 2015 $495
  • 2016 $762
  • 2017 $1,107
  • 2018 $1,531
  • 2019 $2,052
  • 2020 $2,688

The 451 Research report identified at least 125 application container vendors - and expects new market entrants to emerge quarterly, including many yet to be identified as container providers. The container management and orchestration segments have already experienced some consolidation, the study's author state -- including Apprenda's acquisition of Kubernetes backer Kismatic, and Cisco's acquisition of Docker Swarm supporter ContainerX. expect plenty of continued M&A activity through 2017 across the market segments.classified -- management and orchestration, monitoring, security and continuous integration/continuous deployment.

While containers have enjoyed a great deal of attention and hype in the enterprise, adoption and revenue are just starting to emerge. Although it is still early days for containers in the enterprise, 451 Research finds increased movement beyond development and testing to production use. Of the roughly 25% of enterprises surveyed who use containers, 34% were in broad implementation of production applications, and 28% had begun initial implementation of production applications with containers.

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