K8s can't be stopped

CNCF survey reveals 78% use Kubernetes in production

Sarah Schlothauer
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According to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Kubernetes usage has increased dramatically. It’s clear that containers in production are becoming the new standard. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation released the results of its 2019 survey. See what other insights they revealed about serverless technologies, service mesh tech, and more.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation released the results of its 2019 survey. For seven years, CNCF has polled the community about cloud native technologies, how they are being used, what open source solutions are growing, and what the current marketplace looks like.

1,337 respondents from around the globe weighed in on CNCF technologies, serverless platforms, containers, and the cloud.

Here’s what they had to say.

SEE ALSO: Cloud Native Communication: Using Ambassador and Consul Connect with Java Apps

Containers in production

The survey revealed that 84% of respondents are using containers in production. This is up 15% from the 2018 results. It’s clear that containers are becoming the standard. Especially when compared to CNCF’s first survey in 2016, where only 23% of respondents used containers in production, the rate of growth is impressive.

According to CNCF, the reason for this growth might be because of “increased trust” in the technology. Whatever the reasoning may be, containers in production are mainstream.

However, when it comes to container usage, development teams are struggling. 43% reported that the top challenge when using and deploying containers are “cultural challenges”, followed by security concerns (40%) and complexity (38%).

The Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is the most popular container management tool, followed by the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Docker Desktop.

Kubernetes on top

Out of CNCF’s graduated technologies, Kubernetes is by far the most commonly used. In 2019, 78% of respondents use Kubernetes in production. Compared to last year, only 58% of respondents used it in production.

Kubernetes is everywhere. While there are 109 tools in the CNCF Cloud Native Landscape, 89% use different forms of Kubernetes.

Users are increasing their amount of clusters. Most Kubernetes users have a modest 2-5 clusters in production (43%). However, a little over 10% of users have more than 50 production clusters.

How are users separating Kubernetes applications? The most popular way is via namespaces, even for those respondents with multiple teams.

Service mesh projects

Due to rising interest, for the first time, CNCF asked respondents about service mesh products.

According to the report:

While use in production is still rather low with 18% of those who responded indicating they use a service mesh project, 47% are evaluating the use of a service mesh. Service mesh technology is still rather new, and we are seeing that nearly half of respondents are already evaluating this technology. In our future surveys, we expect to see use in production climb over the next few years.

69% of respondents were evaluating Istio, with another 64% evaluating Linkerd.

Serverless stats

Respondents are planning their move to serverless. 41% are currently using serverless tech, with another 20% planning to make the move in the upcoming 12 to 18 months. Compared to last year, more respondents are using serverless, specifically hosted platforms.

When it comes to hosted platforms, AWS Lambda (53%) reigns supreme, followed by Google Cloud Functions (18%) and Azure Functions (14%).

SEE ALSO: Kubeflow 1.0 brings cloud-native machine learning to Kubernetes

Top CNCF tech

Of course, Kubernetes is the most popular graduated project to come out of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, but it isn’t their only project. Respondents were asked about other CNCF projects, whether they use them in production, or if they are currently evaluating them.

Here’s the tool ranking:

  1. Kubernetes
  2. Prometheus
  3. Envoy
  4. CoreDNS
  5. containerd
  6. Fluentd
  7. Jaeger
  8. TUF (The Update Framework)
  9. Vitess

Download the report and browse the rest of the insights.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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