Application container market will scale to $2.7B by 2020, says 451 Research


As service providers and enterprises migrate more of their infrastructure to software, the trend will drive continued growth in the application container market.

In its latest Cloud-Enabling Technologies (CET) Market Monitor report, 451 Research has forecast that the application container market will grow from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020.

Although application containers make up only a small piece of the overall Cloud-Enabling Technologies (CET) market, application containers will see the fastest growth compared to other segments, with an estimated CAGR of 40% through 2020.

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In 2017, the research firm said that the CET market—one that includes virtualization, containers, Private PaaS and other automation and management software—is estimated by 451 Research to be worth approximately $23.1 billion in 2017. It is expected to grow at a 15% CAGR to $39.6 billion at year-end 2020.

Similar to the OpenStack market, 451 Research says that the application container market is on a similar growth path because both segments are based on open source software and have participation from startups and established vendors.

Each of these markets have enjoyed rapid growth in the enterprise market, but given the growing ecosystem of container vendors the segment could have a broader market impact than OpenStack, which was valued by 451 Research at $1.8 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to $5.8 billion at a CAGR of 35% by year-end 2020. Today, there are about 125 application container vendors—a number the research firm expects to ramp on a quarterly basis, as many have yet to be identified as container providers start to emerge.

451 Research analysts say that “enterprise adoption of containers and market maturity appears to be happening more rapidly than OpenStack and other adjacent trends, such as PaaS and DevOps.”

In a survey of enterprise IT buyers conducted in April and May 2016, 451 Research found that of the 25% of enterprises surveyed who use containers, 34% were in broad implementation of production applications, and 28% had begun initial implementation of production applications with containers.

“In the three years we’ve been tracking the OpenStack market, we’ve watched it grow from just 30 vendors in 2013 to more than 91 vendors today,” said Jay Lyman, principal analyst of cloud management and Containers at 451 Research. “We will be tracking the container market closely to see whether that translates into even higher revenue and faster growth than with OpenStack.”

Interestingly, the container management and orchestration segments are starting to consolidate. Notable deals include Apprenda's acquisition of Kubernetes backer Kismatic, and Cisco's acquisition of Docker Swarm supporter ContainerX.