Datadog, a cloud monitoring company, has surveyed over 7,000 companies to track the adoption and usage of Docker. The results show that the container technology is growing at a rapid pace among startups and enterprises.

Datadog claims that the survey is probably the largest and most accurate review of Docker adoption published to date. Here are highlights of the survey.

  • When compared to September 2014, Docker’s adoption among Datadog’s customers has grown five times from 1.8% to 8.3% (Figure A).
  • The percentage of hosts running Docker has increased from zero to six in just one year.
  • Docker is enjoying faster adoption among larger companies. Customers with 500+ server deployments are using Docker.
  • 2/3 of companies that evaluate Docker end up adopting it. Datadog claims that most companies are moving Docker into production within the first 30 days of using it.
  • Once customers start deploying Docker, they triple the number of containers within the first five months.
  • Docker Registry, Nginx, Redis, and MonogDB are the top container workloads (Figure B). Apache web server doesn’t figure in the top 10.
  • On an average, each Docker host runs four containers at a time.
  • The average lifespan of containers is three days, while VMs have an average uptime of 12 days.

Figure A

Figure B

Analysis of the findings

Given that Datadog is a startup, it attracts smaller companies and other tech-savvy startups that want to be on bleeding edge of technology. So, the results are skewed towards emerging technology companies than enterprises.

Datadog is an early adopter of Docker; it created an infrastructure to monitor container workloads that attracted companies running Docker in production. Given that there are very few commercial monitoring environments for Docker, Datadog apparently has become the preferred monitoring engine. This factor impacts the survey results.

The rise of Nginx is visible across multiple deployment platforms including Docker. It is growing at the cost of Apache, which was the most preferred web server for a long time. Datadog survey results validate this fact.

Comparing with StackEngine’s survey

In January 2015, StackEngine, a Docker management company surveyed 745 users. 70% of the respondents reported that they are using Docker in their organization. 63% of respondents mentioned that they were using Docker in QA/Test, while 53% of users ran Docker in development environments. 31% of users were planning to use it in production. Q&A apps, web apps, and big data workloads were voted as the top three applications to run in Docker.

Both the Datadog and StackEngine surveys point to the rapid growth of Docker adoption. Customers get started with Docker in Q&A and then quickly moving it to production. As the platform matures with new management tools, I predict adoption will continue to increase.

When should you start using Docker?

Docker has come a long way from being a small open source to becoming a platform. The ecosystem around it is rapidly contributing to filling the gaps that exist in it.

Like most of the early adopters, it’s a good idea to evaluate Docker in development and test environments. If the results are encouraging, it is easy to move Docker into production.

Who is DataDog?

Founded in 2010 in New York, Datadog is a SaaS-based cloud monitoring service that’s compatible with mainstream cloud platforms, operating systems, databases, application servers, web servers, and other open source software. It collects logs and metrics from various workloads and aggregates them to provide useful insights in the form of dashboards. The company boasts of impressive clientele such as Airbnb, EA, Meerkat, Shopify, and Zendesk.