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Container technology is now expanding from a focus on application containers to a focus on application container management platforms (CMPs). The move underpins the technology's transition from development and test environments to production environments.


  • Most vendors are talking up CMPs for large production systems, but the reality of container use is mostly small scale and script-based for development and test purposes.
  • As container usage grows, negative container security-related headlines are bound to grow in number despite the fact that, handled correctly, containers are currently rather secure (especially when run in VMs) and will become increasingly so.
  • As the container market shifts from containers to CMPs and from cooperation to competition, politics as much as technology are defining the way the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) are defining and evolving container and CMP standards.

Features and Benefits

  • Provides details on the variety of open source and commercial container tools, CMP types, CMP subcategories, and CMP components.
  • Identifies the factors influencing the evolution of container and CMP standards.

Key questions answered

  • How is the container technology market evolving?
  • What are CMPs? which CMP options/components/services are available?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Containers already underpin large-scale production systems

  • Production systems are moving from OS to application containers
  • Production systems in the enterprise will emerge more slowly than in early adopter circles

Production systems leverage advances in Docker storage, networking, security, and monitoring

  • The Docker storage and networking plug-in architectures are a work in progress, and so is third-party support for them
  • Security has become a multi-level priority
  • Monitoring and logging maturity helps with security
  • Storage, networking, security, and monitoring efforts are shifting from containers to CMPs

Production systems run on container-centric and container-enabled CMPs

  • The container market's focus has shifted from containers to container platforms
  • Container-centric CMPs position themselves as the future of container-based production systems
  • Container-enabled CMPs fight back with a focus on functionality and heterogeneity

It is early days for CMPs at technology and political levels

  • Terminology and definitions have yet to settle
  • Vendors are taking sides and going to war
  • Enterprises are even more baffled by CMPs than vendors
  • Politics make a complex situation even more unreadable
  • The CMP wars are API wars, especially at networking level

Container-centric CMPs are diverse and in progress

  • Container-centric CMPs abstract application from infrastructure layers and manage both layers
  • Container-centric CMPs come in various shapes and sizes
  • Discovery and scheduling services are key to container orchestration
  • CMP modularity is a double-edged sword
  • Scalability has become a battleground


  • Further reading
  • Author

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