The Business Case for Docker Adoption

Container technology is considered one of the most rapidly evolving in the software industry's recent history. There has been a seismic shift towards more and more organizations adopting containerization for their applications. 

Containers offer a lightweight, portable, and more efficient alternative to virtual machines and help us run software securely and reliably across different server environments. This technology has existed for more than a decade now but was only made so easily accessible and exploitable thanks to Docker – an open-source platform that makes it simple to package, distribute, and manage containers.

In this post, we are going to look at what gives Docker the edge over other virtualization technologies, their impact on businesses across the world, and why migrating your application to a container setup could be the best thing you could do for it. Here is an outline of the topics we are going to cover --

Docker Usage Trends

Solomon Hykes was a co-founder of Docker, a company that aimed to make containerization simple. The buzz became a roar with the introduction of Docker 1.0 in June 2014. And it's only become louder over time. Docker, and its open-source progenitor, Moby, have expanded more than ever before. Over 3.5 million programs have been containerized using Docker technology, according to Docker itself, and over 37 billion containerized applications have been downloaded (source).

Thanks to Docker, businesses have enjoyed several advantages by containerizing their legacy applications -- faster development and testing, easier deployment and disaster recovery, the ability to run several application instances without disrupting others, and so much more. Let us look at some of the usage trends of Docker in the industry in the last few years –

Containerisation is becoming increasingly popular among businesses

Organizations are not only containerizing more programs, but they are also running more containerized apps in production (in 2020). In the last two years (from 2020 March), the percentage of enterprises with more than half of their containers running in production has increased by 32%, from 22% to 29%. Organizations that use fewer than 10% of their containers in production have decreased from 39% to 28% over the same time period [source].

Employees prefer open, distributed collaboration

After the pandemic in 2020, many open-source projects and Internet corporations had already adopted this collaborative paradigm, the global pandemic forced all software development teams to embrace new ways of working together almost instantly. In fact, a 2020 study of hundreds of Docker developers found that 51% prefer to work largely remotely, with only a small percentage preferring to work in an office if/when given the option [source].

While there are hurdles, we are seeing success in teams that embrace fully remote collaboration and use it to do things they couldn't before.

The ability of team members to share and maintain consistency in their development environments and application stacks is critical to remote teamwork efficiency. To accomplish this, developers are using Docker Desktop's docker-compose.yml to define and pull their team's shared images of their app stacks from Docker Hub. To speed up delivery, centralized team sharing and visibility of image versions, vulnerabilities, test results, and other information reduced "works on my machine" misunderstandings.

Shift towards microservices

In the year 2020, the use of microservices systems has increased manifold due to work from home in a pandemic. They enable rapid, dynamic responses to changes in demand and condense “idea-to-production” timeframes, both of which will be extremely significant in 2020. And 65 percent of our developer community says their companies are already using microservices [source].

The complexity provided by microservices architectures and the accompanying infrastructure, however, is one barrier to its adoption. To deal with this, many development teams are turning to Docker Compose to define multi-service apps that can run on any infrastructure. Compose-defined apps can be written locally in Docker Desktop and then deployed to Kubernetes, AWS ECS, Microsoft Azure ACI, and Swarm, thanks to the open-sourcing of the Compose spec about a year ago. This frees up development teams to concentrate on the development of their apps rather than dealing with the intricacies of app dependencies on the underlying infrastructure.

Open-sourcing of Compose Specification

In April 2020, Docker has announced that the Compose Specification has been open-sourced as a distinct organization on GitHub with open governance. Compose is a tool for defining and operating cloud-native, multi-container applications. The company is creating an open governance architecture in which vendors, community members, and consumers can interact innovatively by developing the compose specification's open-source nature [source].

Acceptance of Docker by various technologies

Many latest technologies are widely accepting Docker, some of them are [source]:

Change in the taste of Customers due to digital transformation

Over the projection period of 2021 to 2026, the application container market is predicted to grow at a 29 percent CAGR. Consumers' growing awareness of and expectations for a "Digital-first Experience" has put pressure on core apps to be more flexible and differentiate themselves from the competition. This prompted businesses to embrace rapid innovation, which is why digital transformation is now a top priority [source].

Containerization of applications, popularized by Docker Inc., has been increasingly popular in recent years. Containers are being used by forward-thinking companies to upgrade legacy apps, streamline infrastructure, and get new innovations to market faster. Containers aid in the development of applications by allowing for faster and more consistent release cycles. As a result, the application is built in a container, packaged, tested, and deployed into production. There is no need for further testing because the program is currently being tested in a runtime environment.

The emergence of orchestration tools, which correspond with a higher number of containers per host, may account for some of the increase in container density over time.

Who Uses Docker?

Docker is used by many businesses for its many applications. Docker is regarded as one of the most rapidly evolving in the software industry's recent history. Docker, at its core, is a platform that makes it simple to package, distribute, and manage programs within containers. To put it another way, it's an open-source project that automates the deployment of software containers. 2/3 of firms that try Docker end up using it. The majority of organizations that will adapt did so within 30 days of first production use, and almost all of the remaining adopters converted within 60 days [source]. It also supports many programming languages like Ruby, Java, Node, and PHP.

Currently, there are more than 12000 companies that are using Docker. The bulk of these businesses are based in the United States and work in the computer software industry. Companies that use Docker typically have 10–50 people and a revenue range of $1 million to $10 million. Furthermore, there is a good likelihood that Docker clients will employ Kubernetes and Jenkins. If you want to know more about Kubernetes monitoring then you can read it from the blog section of ScoutAPM.

However, the calculation above is generalized. JPMorgan Chase, ThoughtWorks, Inc., Docker, Inc., Neudesic, and SLALOM, LLC are the top five Docker users. The size of the organization varies from 200 to 10,000+ employees. The revenue ranges from $50 million to $1 billion-plus [source]. 

One of the important use cases of Docker for a company is they are continually creating microservices and applications using open source technologies. The Java Virtual Machine, or JVM, is at the top of the list. The usages of Databases like PostgreSQL and MongoDB are increasing with the introduction of containers. It means stateful services are in more demand now.

What is Docker Swarm?

Docker Swarm is similar to Kubernetes, but it's as simple to use as standard Docker. Of course, there's more to it - nodes, replicas, and grids – but when compared with Kubernetes, the cluster view is very simple. Docker Swarm is very comfortable for small companies because of its simplified UI and simplified features too. 

Additionally, Docker Swarm is far too simple. Docker Swarm clusters were created and managed by a single person in our team. Apart from the bugs I stated, there isn't much work to be done with that. Large changes arrive with Docker, which doesn't happen very often, so that's one less issue to deal with.

But still, Docker Swarm is facing difficulty in surviving because the problem is the small companies also have small profits and funding.

A Single machine vs Cluster

It generally happens, what works fine for a single machine may not function so well for a cluster. Docker service logs, which is a Docker Swarm counterpart of the log viewer, is a nice example (the cluster orchestrating system for Docker). Unfortunately, the logs are not shown in chronological order in this scenario, which could be due to time variations among the workstations in the cluster.

That is why, when it comes to log order, it's preferable to have a central aggregator that can add a timestamp at the time the log is received. Although generally required in distributed systems such as clusters, this is a solution of a different level.

How Docker Adoption Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Docker adoption can boost the company’s growth many times, that is why many companies are adopting it. In this section, we will talk about how Docker has pushed the bottom line of many companies. So let us go.

Profitable investment and cost-saving

The return on investment is the most important criterion while choosing a new management tool. The more a solution can reduce expenses while increasing revenues, the better, especially for large, established businesses that need to generate consistent revenue over time.

In this way, Docker can help in cost-cutting by drastically decreasing infrastructure requirements. Docker works in a way that minimum resources are required to run the same application. Organizations can save money on anything from server prices to the staff needed to maintain them thanks to Docker's reduced infrastructure requirements. Docker allows engineers to work in smaller, more efficient teams.


Docker containers standardize your environment and ensure consistency across various development and release cycles. One of the most significant benefits of a Docker-based design is standardization. Docker makes development, build, test, and production environments repeatable. Every team member can work in a production-parity environment by standardizing service architecture across the entire pipeline. Engineers will be better able to examine and repair faults in the program as a result of this. This saves time by reducing the amount of effort spent on faults and allowing more time for feature development.

Docker containers allow you to commit and version control changes to your Docker images. It's simple to roll back to a previous version of your Docker image if, for example, a component upgrade destroys your entire environment. In only a few minutes, you can test the entire process. Docker is rapid, so you can quickly replicate your data and achieve redundancy. Docker images can also be launched as quickly as a machine process.

Making things easy for new developers

Onboarding new developers and getting them up to speed as quickly as possible remains a significant problem for every organization, regardless of size. You can dramatically minimize local development environment setup times and swiftly onboard your developers with Docker Desktop and Docker Compose, allowing them to start working right away. Docker Compose is a program that allows you to create and operate multi-container Docker applications. You configure your application's services using Compose using a YAML file. Then you can easily build and run all of the services from your setup with a single command.

Continuous Deployment

From development to production, Docker ensures a consistent environment. Docker containers are set up to keep track of all configurations and dependencies inside, so you can use the same container from development to production without having to change anything.

If you need to upgrade a product throughout its release cycle, Docker containers make it simple to make the necessary changes, test them, and then apply the same changes to your current containers. Another significant benefit of Docker is its versatility. Docker makes it possible to create, test, and distribute images that can be deployed across numerous hosts. The procedure remains the same even if a new security patch is available. You can apply the patch, test it, and go live with it.

Microservice architecture

Docker makes sure that your apps and resources will be isolated and segregated. Docker ensures that each container has its own resources that are separate from the resources of other containers. You can use different containers for distinct apps that operate on different stacks. Because each program runs in its own container, Docker lets you assure clean app removal. You can simply delete an application's container if you no longer require it.

Microservices are becoming more popular among businesses because they not only want to replace massive monolithic systems but also want to speed up app deployment and upgrades. Docker enables you to containerize your microservices, simplifying their delivery and management. Individual microservices have their own segregated workload environments thanks to containerization, making them deployable and scalable independently. Docker Desktop and Docker Hub allow you to standardize and automate the way you design, share and operate microservices-based applications across your company.

Compatibility and Maintainability

Parity is one of the most important problems in organizations. In terms of Docker, parity means that your images execute the same regardless of whatever server or laptop they're on. This means less time spent setting up environments, debugging environment-specific bugs, and a codebase that is more portable and easy to set up for your developers. Your production infrastructure will be more reliable and easier to maintain as a result of parity.

ML models deployment made easy

ML models development at large datasets and deployment it to a large scale is one of the major problems for business. Docker makes it easier to construct and deploy machine learning applications that use platforms like TensorFlow to support GPUs. For images that you generate or that you download as a Docker Image from publishers on Docker Hub, setting up your development environment is as simple as a "Docker run" command. Docker also makes it simple to distribute your machine learning application by allowing you to spin up containers on several workstations or in the cloud and control them all using orchestration technology like Kubernetes.

Other Docker Benefits

Over the last few years, all major cloud computing providers have embraced Docker's availability and provided individual support, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Compute Platform (GCP). Docker containers can run on Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, Rackspace server, or VirtualBox, as long as the host OS supports Docker. If this is the case, a container running on an Amazon EC2 instance can be simply transferred to other environments, such as VirtualBox, and maintain the same consistency and functionality.

Using Docker you will be able to reduce deployment time to a matter of seconds. This is because it generates a container for each process and does not boot an operating system. Data can be created and destroyed without fear of the expense of bringing it back up being too costly to justify. Users may easily take their own configuration, turn it into code, and deploy it. Because Docker may be utilized in a wide range of contexts, the infrastructure requirements are no longer tied to the application's environment.

Is Docker the future?

Till now we have discussed many benefits of Docker, we have seen Docker as a perfect substitution for virtual machines. But it is unlikely that Docker will ever replace the use of virtual machines. Containers are ideal for app development and testing since they are easier to set up than virtual environments, but they aren't as good at running multiple programs or non-Linux apps.

The layered file system and the ability to apply version control to entire containers, in my opinion, are the features that really set Docker apart. The advantages of being able to track, rollback, and view changes are well known, and it is a highly desired and commonly used feature in software development. Docker takes the same concept and expands it to include the complete application, including all of its dependencies, in a single environment.

Docker also provides a lot of advantages for developers, and we anticipate seeing a lot of adoption in the digital industries. Docker containers can help businesses save money by lowering development time and being more leaner and resource-efficient than running virtual machines all of the time. 

Additional Resources

Now as we have discussed many things about Docker, now we can easily use Docker and judge if it is what you need. If you want more information about Docker you can see our other links given below:

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