With the release of Docker 0.1 in March 2013 and the open source of Kubernetes container choreography framework in 2015, the development of container technology has been on a fast track. The agility, simplicity, and high compatibility of container architectures make containers the most fundamental part of the cloud native ecosystem. Both containers and orchestration frameworks play a crucial role in the evolution of DevOps and microservice applications. At present, the development of container technology has reached the third stage: the first stage is the technology exploration period from 2014 to 2016; The second stage is the trial period of the industry in 2017-2018; The third phase is the scale application period after 2019.

In May and June 2020, the CNCF community conducted its eighth user survey evaluation of the cloud primitives market and ecology, and received 1,324 responses. The main conclusions include the following aspects:

  • Container usage in production increased to 92 percent from 84 percent last year, a 300 percent increase from the first survey in 2016.
  • Kubernetes usage in production increased to 83 percent from 78 percent last year.
  • The utilization rate of all CNCF projects has increased by 50% since last year’s survey.
  • Use of cloud native tools:
    • 82% of respondents use CI/CD pipeline in production.
    • 30% of respondents use serverless technology in production.
    • 27% of respondents use Service Mesh in production, up 50% from last year.
    • Fifty-five percent of respondents use stateful applications in production containers.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents came from organisations with more than 100 employees and 30 per cent from organisations with more than 5,000, showing strong corporate representation. The majority of respondents (56%) came from software/technology organizations. Other sectors include financial services (9 percent), consulting (6 percent) and telecom operators (5 percent).

Size of the interviewed organization

01 Containers enter the production environment

In the early days of container technology, enterprises were concerned about its stability and used containers only for development and test environments. The application of containers to the production environment requires a higher level of cluster management, network communication, security protection capabilities, which requires very high technical capabilities of enterprises. Therefore, at the beginning, the number of enterprises deploying containers in the production environment is mainly small scale, and most of them are the leading enterprises in the Internet or financial industry.

In 2020, 92% of respondents said they used containers in their production environments, a 300% increase from 23% in the first survey in March 2016; That’s up from 84 percent in 2019 and 73 percent in 2018. About 95% of respondents used containers in POC, the first increase in the percentage of containers used in POC environments since June 2016. This means that as organizations become more comfortable with the adaptability of their containers, they are testing new use cases and migrating more workloads.

The use of containers in manufacturing has become the norm

Again, we see a steady increase in the number of containers running within the organization. The number of users using more than 5,000 containers reached 23 percent in 2020, up 109 percent from 11 percent in 2016. Sixty-one percent of users now use more than 250 containers, up from 57 percent in 2019.

The number of running containers within an organization

02 The importance of container storage becomes apparent

The 2020 survey shows that container challenges, the complexity of new technologies and cultural changes on development teams are the top challenges for using and deploying containers, with 41% of respondents agreeing. Safety (32%) slipped to third place from second last year; Containers’ storage challenges rose to fourth 29%, up from fifth 25% last year.

Containers face challenges

Cloud native storage has exploded in recent years, including different storage products: centralized, distributed, hyper-converged, etc. The CNCF community started a special group (SIG) focused on storage to clarify these different storage differences and to give the first attributes to consider when choosing a storage solution.

Containers are originally built to be stateless to keep them flexible and portable. However, only 22% of respondents only use stateless applications. With the popularity of cloud native storage, 55% of respondents are using stateful applications in production environments, 12% are evaluating, and 11% plan to use storage in the next 12 months.

Containers store usage

Yan Rong technology container storage

Yan Rong Technology is one of the earliest manufacturers to support CSI container storage interface in China, and also the first manufacturer to enter CNCF Landscape storage graph in China. After several years of development and precipitation, Yan Rong technology container storage solutions have accumulated a certain customer base, widely recognized by the industry.

CNCF cloud native storage

Cloud native technology keeps growing in private cloud, but it still takes public cloud as the main position

For the third year in a row, the public cloud remains the most used operating environment for cloud native technologies, with usage increasing slightly to 64% from 62% in 2019. Private cloud or local usage increased the most from 45% to 52%. Hybrid clouds fell slightly to 36% from 38% in 2019. Cloudy usage was a new option this year, with 26 percent of users using it.

Hybrid cloud refers to the combination of internal deployment and public cloud. Cloudy means that workloads are used between different clouds based on the type of cloud that best suits the workload. The portability provided by Kubernetes and cloud native tools makes it easier to switch from one public cloud provider to another.

The underlying cloud environment for cloud native applications

The 04 release cycle continues to accelerate, but the rate of automation has declined

Since 2018, the CNCF community has been investigating issues related to release cycles to gain insight into how organizations manage their software development cycles. In its third year, 2020, we see the release cycle continue to accelerate.

The percentage of users releasing software once or multiple times a day increased to 29 percent from 27 percent last year. Weekly release cycles remain the most common (26%), but more than half of respondents (55%) publish at least once a week or more than once a week.

Several factors are driving the rapid release of software products: the growing use of cloud-native technologies in production; Organizations build a higher level of infrastructure. In addition, the Novel Coronavirus pandemic has increased digital consumption, forcing organizations to adapt and speed up software releases.

Frequency of Software Release

The majority of respondents (53%) check in code multiple times a day, while 80% check in code at least several times a week. This is consistent with the results for 2019.

Check in code frequency

Automated + manual was the most popular method of software distribution, with 46 percent of respondents choosing it, up from 41 percent last year and 25 percent in 2018. At the same time, software releases that have gone from being fully automated have dropped from 40 percent to 33 percent in 2019. This is in sharp contrast to last year, when automatic + manual methods were gaining ground. This may mean that many organizations are not ready for fully automated release due to the complexity of their applications, or that they want to retain control over certain aspects of application deployment. In the next survey, we’ll find out what happens to this trend in an interesting way.

Proportion of software distribution that is automated or manual

About the number of machines running in your organization, both virtual and bare metal. We are seeing an increase at both ends, with eight percent of respondents using one to five machines, compared to five percent a year ago, indicating that new adopters have entered the ecosystem. At the same time, the number of users using 5,000 or more machines increased from 15% to 17%, indicating that users using containers are adding more content. In 2020, 81% of respondents used more than 20 machines in a cloud-native environment.

Number of servers used in the environment (including virtual machines, physical servers)

Kubernetes continues to lead the native cloud business

In 2020, 91% of respondents said they used Kubernetes for politics, 83% for production. That’s a steady increase from 78 percent in 2019 and 58 percent in 2018.

Clusters of two to five Kubernetes are the most common among enterprises that use Kubernetes, at 39 percent, down from 43 percent last year. The number of enterprises using a cluster of 11 Kubernetes in production environments increased from 24% in 2019 to 28% and from 56% in 2017.

As Kubernetes has grown, so has the ecosystem around it. The project released version 1.19 in late August 2020. According to the DevStats information center, 382 companies and more than 2,464 people contributed to Kubernetes during the April-August release cycle.

Number of clusters running in a production environment

We look forward to the next user survey showing us more interesting uses of cloud native applications in user environments. If you want to read the full report, please reply “CNCF 2020” in the official account.