AD&D 2016 Predictions: Containers Will Go Mainstream

As part of my research planning for 2016, I sat down with ESG VP John McKnight to talk about application development and deployment predictions for 2016. Containers have been receiving a lot of attention in the last 18 months. Given the concerns that exist over container security and manageability I would have bet against this prediction at the end of 2015.

However, an acquisition by Docker in January 2016 changed my mind about this. Listen to this short AD&D prediction video to hear what changed my thinking on containers.

Video transcript:

Announcer: The following is an ESG 360 video.

John: I'm here today with Steve Hendrick, Principal Analyst for Application Development and Deployment Research for ESG. Welcome, Steve.

Steve: Thanks, John. Appreciate it.

John: So we'll be talking today about what you expect to see in the application development space in the coming year. So what are some of the major trends that you'll be looking out for?

Steve: Well, I think one of the most important trends will be that containers will go mainstream in 2016. Now, this is really interesting because in 2015, there were lots of issues that surfaced around containers involving security and manageability. And so I would have actually bet against containers being kind of a leading issue, and a leading trend in 2016. But the reality is that in the last couple of weeks, Docker just acquired a company called Unikernel Systems. And this gave Docker the approach that they needed to essentially resolve both the security and the manageability issues.

Now, Unikernels combine both the application and just enough of the operating system together into a package, that gets deployed inside of the container, to be able to provide you with lots of benefits when it comes to a deployed application. And the reality is that it's a much more efficient operating model from the standpoint of the deployed application.

At the same time, because each of these containers has a discrete unit inside of a virtual machine, it's much easier from a manageability standpoint. So this essentially eliminates the existing barriers to adoption for containers, and as a result, I really think containers will go mainstream in 2016.

John: Well, we see in our Spending Intentions research every year, and certainly this year again, that security and risk management is the number one priority for IT and business decision makers. It's really the top purchase consideration for moving forward with any new technology projects. So if those challenges are being addressed via a new technology, then certainly it paves the way for increased container adoption.

Steve: Well, they absolutely are, John. And so a lot of these big enterprises that we've talked to, who I think originally thought that 2017 would be kind of the year that containers might go mainstream, will actually find that they're able to accelerate their adoption of containers, and go mainstream in 2016.

John: Certainly a trend worth watching in 2016.

Steve: Correct, John.

John: To read more of Steve's research, you can visit

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Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration