The market for application containers, largely led by the open-source Docker container engine, has been a hot area in recent years, at least in terms of mindshare — but how much money is there in the container market right now? A new forecast from 451 Research aims to answer that question.
According to 451 Research, the market for application container technologies in 2016 generated $762 million in revenue. Looking forward to 2020, 451 Research is forecasting that 2020 revenue will reach $2.7 billion, for a 40 percent compound annual growth rate.
The upward revenue growth trajectory for application containers is not a surprise given some of the current adoption trends. 451 Research conducted a study in April and May 2016 that found 14 percent of surveyed organizations were using Docker containers in production. Additionally, nearly 31 percent of surveyed organizations indicated they were piloting or evaluating Docker containers.
Linux vendor Red Hat has also been an early indicator of the revenue potential for container technologies. During Red Hat's third quarter fiscal 2017 earnings conference call, CEO Jim Whitehurst specifically highlighted his company's OpenShift container platform. Whitehurst noted that Red Hat closed several large deals for OpenShift, including one worth over $10 million.
"Two things stand out from our market sizing and research on containers: the breadth and diversity of vendors basing their offerings on containers or integrating and partnering to better support containers in their products, and the speed at which the container software and market are maturing based on production, use and revenue growth," Greg Zwakman, Vice President, Market and Competitive Intelligence at 451 Research, said in a statement.
Application containers are part of a broader market 451 Research labels as Cloud-Enabling Technologies (CET). CET includes containers, virtualization, Private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and cloud management and automation software. The CET market as a whole is forecast to generate $23.1 billion in 2017, growing to $39.6 billion in 2020.
In contrast, looking at the OpenStack cloud, 451 Research estimates 2016 revenues at $1.8 billion. The current forecast for OpenStack revenue is a 35 percent compound annual growth rate, bringing 2020 revenue up to $5.8 billion.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.