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CNCF: Record Kubernetes & Container Adoption in 2021

February 15, 2022

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation released results of the 2021 Cloud Native Survey. The survey, now in its sixth year, found that the usage of Kubernetes is continuing to grow and reached its highest level ever, with 96% of organizations using or evaluating the technology. Kubernetes has been fully embraced by large enterprises and is even growing in emerging technology hubs, like Africa, where 73% of respondents use Kubernetes in production.

The 2021 Cloud Native Survey received 3,829 responses overall and reflects the views of more than 38 times as many respondents as the first report in 2016. In addition, this year’s survey is more global than ever in scope, drawing an increase in responses from six continents. Finally, for the first time, the 2021 survey report incorporates production data from member organizations Datadog and New Relic, as well as independent developer analyst SlashData. This data provides a fuller picture of the realities of production usage, and we plan to incorporate similar information in future surveys for a more robust outlook on the cloud native landscape.

Key findings from the report include:

Container adoption and Kubernetes have gone mainstream – usage has risen globally, particularly in large organizations. SlashData reports that there are 5.6 million developers using Kubernetes worldwide, representing 31% of all backend developers.

Kubernetes is going “under the hood” – more organizations are leveraging managed services and packaged platforms. According to CNCF CTO Chris Aniszczyk, there is a growing void in understanding that Kubernetes and containers are essentially a package deal. Datadog reports that nearly 90% of Kubernetes users leverage cloud-managed services, up from nearly 70% in 2020.

Organizations are moving up the stack – companies are adopting less mature projects to tackle more advanced challenges like monitoring and communications. Monitoring tool Prometheus, for example, saw a 43% overall increase in adoption for the last six months of 2021, according to New Relic.

“Kubernetes adoption among the ever-expanding cloud native community is approaching 100%, meaning those investing in cloud native are strongly bought in and excited for the future,” said Priyanka Sharma, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “Our data also demonstrates how ubiquitous cloud native is, whether it is being deployed in-house or as a managed service. I believe 2022 will be a banner year for emerging areas of cloud native like edge, observability, and security as container infrastructures continue to mature both on the surface and under the hood.”

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