Dustin Kirkland, VP of product at Canonical who’s on the company’s Ubuntu products and strategy team, said one of the biggest issues facing container adoption today is simply time. Containers are still relatively new in the eyes of enterprise customers who have only recently come to understand the benefits of virtual machines (VMs).
“It’s a boring challenge, but containers just need more time in front of enterprises,” Kirkland said. “New technology needs time to be adopted. Even though it seems like Docker sort of came out of nowhere to become this big, new thing, it really has taken some time for adoption.”
Kirkland’s assessment coordinated with a recent SDxCentral survey and report that found of the 55 percent of respondents not currently using container technology, 51 percent cited a “lack of maturity” for their hesitance. A “lack of management and deployment tools” were cited by 27 percent of non-users; while 24 percent said they didn’t yet “know how to scale containers.” Respondents could tick more than one response.
Kirkland said enterprises are just not becoming comfortable with what containers can do and have been waiting for their larger vendor partners to push those “products as being generally available.”
“When something lands at RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] or if Canonical or Red Hat declares it to be ready, that sort of puts enterprises at ease,” Kirkland said. “That all takes time and is a real struggle for start ups. They want quick adoption, but the market sometimes is just not ready for it.”
As an example of adoption timing, Kirkland noted Canonical has just recently seen daily usage of its 2016 platform release surpass that of its 2014 release.
Kirkland also cited security as a challenge for container adoption, linking most issues with overall timing.
“Security is always first and foremost for enterprises,” Kirkland said. “It can really make or break a career for those making these decisions.”
During the recent Black Hat USA event, there were several sessions dedicated to container security issues. Kirkland said from what he heard, most of the vulnerabilities noted were mundane issues he thought were highlighted for maximizing exposure.
“Docker is a juicy topic right now,” Kirkland said. “Researchers are going to attack something that can maximize exposure.”
Kirkland did note privilege escalation could be one potential security challenge impacting container deployments. This involves gaining access to a single vulnerable container application, and then taking advantage of privilege capabilities of that container to gain access to other containers.
The security challenge is well known in the container market and has been tackled through various updates.