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U.S. Enterprises Embracing Container Technology and Service Providers

ISG Provider Lens™ report finds many companies moving from small container pilots to cloud-based container platforms

U.S. enterprises increasingly are adopting containers to streamline their applications workflows, with many turning to container services and solutions providers to help them get full value from this cloud-native technology, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensContainer Services and Solutions Report for the U.S. finds enterprises in the country taking a wide variety of approaches to adopting and integrating containers. In some cases, enterprises work to develop container resources in house by training employees in the technology or hiring engineers with expertise, while others look to service providers to ramp up their container operations.

“Many companies start with the use of a small cluster on a developer’s computer, then graduate to hyperscale cloud container services,” said Blair Hanley Frank, principal analyst with ISG Research, and co-author of the report. “Enterprises have several choices when they adopt containers, including whether to use one public cloud vendor or pursue a multicloud or hybrid cloud approach.”

In addition to new technical skills, the use of containers often means significant cultural and organizational changes within an enterprise, the report adds. In some cases, developers will be responsible for writing and maintaining containerized applications, while another team is charged with keeping the container platform up and running.

This split in duties is an expansion of the DevOps approach that many enterprises have been adopting in recent years, but many companies have not yet completed their transition to DevOps, creating challenges for companies embracing containers.

The most successful container service providers are not only able to bring advanced skills to their clients, but they also help clients evolve their approaches to software development, the report says. Leaders in the container space are able to provide training resources to help clients best use containers.

In the area of managed container services, providers are offering a wide spectrum of services to meet enterprise demands, the report says. In some cases, a managed services provider simply deploys and maintains a container platform on behalf of a client, and on the other end of the spectrum, providers are both operating the platform while building and maintaining applications inside containers.

In addition, the report finds that paid Kubernetes container platforms are worth the investment for most enterprises. While it may be tempting for enterprises to operate their own Kubernetes platform, the amount of time spent on maintaining those platforms can be significant. Commercially available Kubernetes platforms offer features such as simplified management, role-based access controls and improved graphical interfaces.

The report also sees multicluster and multicloud Kubernetes platforms as the future, because enterprises using Kubernetes need their software to handle the full breadth of possible approaches to using the technology. These platforms must streamline the process of deploying and managing workloads across multiple Kubernetes clusters in different cloud environments, and enterprises are operating multiple clusters in production to help with workload isolation.

U.S. enterprises beyond the proof-of-concept stage are often turning to public cloud platforms’ managed container offerings, the report says. These services are powerful on-ramps to using Kubernetes and other container technologies because they help remove some of the complexity involved with deploying and managing clusters.

As more enterprises use containerized applications in production, the need for observability solutions is growing, the report says. Many application performance monitoring providers have integrated observability approaches into their platforms. Dedicated observability players are being acquired by these providers or are moving into the application monitoring space themselves.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensContainer Services and Solutions Report for the U.S. evaluates the capabilities of 55 providers across four quadrants: Managed Container Services, Kubernetes Platform Solutions, Hyperscale Cloud Container Platforms, and Cloud Native Observability Solutions.

The report names Accenture, AWS, Cognizant, Datadog, Dynatrace, Google Cloud, HCL, HPE, IBM, Microsoft, Mirantis, New Relic, Red Hat, Sysdig, VMware and Wipro as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, ServiceNow, Rancher (SUSE) and UST were named Rising Stars—companies with “promising portfolios” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition—in one quadrant.

A customized version of the report is available from Dynatrace.

The 2021 ISG Provider LensContainer Services and Solutions Report for the U.S. is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., France, the Nordics, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 700 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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