Kubernetes by the numbers: 13 compelling stats

Let’s quantify what’s going on with Kubernetes. These statistics speak to reach, adoption, Github activity, job openings - and hint at what’s ahead 
844 readers like this.

When we last compiled some of the most interesting numbers out there about Kubernetes, they all roughly told the same story: Kubernetes adoption was soaring.

Fast-forward to the dog days of summer 2019 and a fresh look at various stats in and around the Kubernetes ecosystem, and the story’s sequel plays out a lot like the original: Kubernetes is even more popular. It’s tough to find a buzzier platform in the IT world these days. Yet Kubernetes is still quite young; it just celebrated its fifth “birthday,” and version 1.0 of the open source project was released just over four years ago. So there’s plenty of room for additional growth.

[ Want to help others understand Kubernetes? Read also: How to explain Kubernetes in plain English and How to explain Kubernetes Operators in plain English. ]

Let’s take a look at a baker’s dozen stats that speak to the star power of Kubernetes in IT:

$4.3 billion: The projected market for application container technologies in 2022, according to 451 Research. That’s more than double the $2.126 billion the firm has predicted will be spent in 2019, and it also represents a 30 percent compound annual growth rate from 2017 through 2022.

87 percent: In the 2019 Container Adoption Survey, sponsored by Portworx and Aqua Security, a whopping 87 percent of respondents said they are now running container technologies, up from 55 percent in 2017. The survey sample included 501 IT pros.

90 percent: Of those respondents who are running containerized applications today, nine out of 10 are doing so in production, continuing a steady upward trend: 84 percent were doing so last year, and 67 percent in the 2017 survey.

[ Also read: Kubernetes in production vs. Kubernetes in development: 4 myths. ]

65 percent are using two or more container orchestration tools.

65 percent: Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of the IT pros included in the container adoption survey indicated that their organizations are using two or more container orchestration tools. This includes teams running two or more commercial Kubernetes platforms; it also reflects the growing relationship between Kubernetes and multi-cloud and hybrid cloud adoption.

8,000+: The record-setting crowd of attendees at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018. There was also a waitlist of another 1,000+ hopefuls. As the conference organizers noted in a recap, 73 percent of attendees were at the event for the first time, and 14 percent identified as being brand-new to open source. Expect the event to keep growing. As Chris Short, principal product marketing manager, Red Hat Ansible, noted in his own recap, “Kubernetes is everything and everything is Kubernetes. This goes without saying at KubeCon, but there were 8,000 attendees in Seattle (more online) and next year in San Diego there is capacity for 12,000+. I’d estimate around 11-12K attendees next year. The growth here is huge.”

40 percent: Four out of ten enterprise companies (with 5,000 or more employees) included in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s biannual survey reported that they’re running Kubernetes in production environments. Overall use of CNCF-housed projects (of which Kubernetes is one) in production grew 200 percent on average from December 2017 through August 2018. We’d hazard a guess that the next refresh of the survey will show similar levels of growth.

80,798: The number of commits made to date to the Kubernetes repository on Github.

2,206: The number of active contributors to the Kubernetes repository on Github.

Kevin Casey writes about technology and business for a variety of publications. He won an Azbee Award, given by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for his InformationWeek.com story, "Are You Too Old For IT?" He's a former community choice honoree in the Small Business Influencer Awards.