Container usage continues to explode as organizations want to glean greater efficiencies from their cloud deployments. According to a new study by cloud security platform provider Sysdig, much of that growth has come on the shoulders of Kubernetes and users finding ways to more densely use container deployments.
First, it should be noted that the data comes from a recent Sysdig survey that took samples from 90,000 container deployments running in production environments and using its platform. Sysdig Chief Marketing Officer Apurva Davé explained that the data was specific to Sysdig customers, which could lead to the “potential for inherent bias for companies who choose a commercial versus an open source solution.”
So, while the data might have a bias in one direction, it does provide at least a snapshot from a single vantage point in terms of market changes.
The data found that Kubernetes has padded its lead as the orchestrator of choice for Docker-based containers. Use of Kubernetes surged from 43 percent last year to 51 percent this year. Docker Inc.’s own Swarm orchestrator saw a bump in use from 7 percent to 11 percent. Both took a bite from Mesos-based orchestrators like Marathon and DC/OS, which saw usage plunge from 9 percent last year to just 4 percent in the latest study.
Helping to bolster Kubernetes’ dominance is the adoption of the platform over the past year by nearly all major cloud and managed service providers. This includes heavyweights Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, which have added Kubernetes to their platforms over the past 12 months.
“No real surprise there as the past year has seen the market evolve and Kubernetes embraced seemingly across the board,” the Sysdig report states.
Use of open source versions of Kubernetes also dominated as compared with managed platforms. The survey found that 82 percent of deployments using the container orchestrator were of the upstream open source version. By comparison, the study found that 14 percent of deployments were using Red Hat’s OpenShift managed service, and 4 percent were using Rancher Labs’ managed version.
However, while Kubernetes is broadly the most used orchestrator, the Mesos-based platforms have a dominant position for large-scale deployments. The survey found that where Mesos is used, the median number of containers deployed is 50-percent higher than Kubernetes environments.
“This makes sense given Mesos tends to be targeted at large-scale container and cloud deployments,” the report notes. “So while fewer in number, Mesos clusters are typically enterprise-scale.”
More and Less
The data also found that users are packing 50 percent more running containers per host when compared to last year. The report noted that users were running an average of 15 containers per host this year compared with just 10 per host last year. Sysdig also found one user running 154 containers under a single host, which was more than 50 percent ahead of the maximum of 95 running containers under one host found last year.
While density has increased, containers continue to be short-lived applications. The data found that nearly half of containers run less than 10 minutes, and 78 percent lasted less than one hour. This highlighted the rapid scale and demand containers are designed to support in a production environment.
“We know many customers have architected systems that scale as needed with demand and live only as long as they add value,” the report said. “Containers are created, do their work, and then go away. As an example, one customer spins up a container for each job they create in Jenkins. They test the change, then shut down the container. For them this takes place thousands of times a day.”