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Seven Docker Container Monitoring Trends and MSP Opportunities

As MSPs push beyond traditional server, desktop, mobile and infrastructure monitoring, one emerging area of opportunity involves Docker container monitoring.

CA’s Ken Vanderweel
Related: CA's Ken Vanderweel pinpoints whitespace opportunities for MSPs.

Indeed, the application container software market will reach nearly $2.7 billion in 2020, up from $495 million in 2015, according to a 451 Research forecast. That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent during the forecast period.

What's Driving Container Adoption?: Enterprises and many midmarket firms are adopting software containers like Docker (and many alternatives) to help improve the portability of applications from one server to another. Also, containers share the machine’s OS system kernel and therefore do not require an OS per application, driving higher server efficiencies and reducing server and licensing costs, Docker asserts.

The Challenge: Still, the growing container market creates both a challenge and opportunity for customers. Once a business embraces containers on-premises or in the cloud, somebody needs to manage those container systems.

The MSP Opportunity: That's where container monitoring enters the picture. Indeed, container monitoring is a key whitespace opportunity for MSPs, according to CA Technologies' research. Indeed, spending on container monitoring should reach $706.2 million by 2022, up from $169.6 million in 2017, according to MarketsandMarkets research. That’s a 33 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), the researcher says.

Formulating Your Strategy: MSPs shouldn't blindly jump into the market. Instead, take a close look at these seven trends involving Docker container monitoring, according to CA Technologies and Gatepoint Research. Then, check out ChannelE2E's associated observations for MSPs.

Seven Docker Container Monitoring Trends: Implications for MSPs

1. Docker popularity is rising, but it’s still in its infancy at most organizations. Indeed, 52 percent of enterprises are just getting started with Docker, and only 23 percent are running containers in production, the research says. ChannelE2E adds: It's a safe bet adoption figures are far, far lower in the SMB customer sector.

2. App development and testing is the primary Docker use case. Fully 61 percent of enterprises that run containers use the technology for app development and testing. ChannelE2E adds: On a closely related note, very few MSPs now offer managed DevOps services. But the opportunity can be lucrative for early movers in the market. For instance, G2 Tech Group -- a relatively young MSP focused on DevOps -- was acquired in May 2018 by a major MSP focused on AWS.

3. What is the most valuable aspect of Docker? The containers provide the most value when it comes to continuous delivery, scalability and resource efficiency, the research says. ChannelE2E adds: Here again, the "continuous delivery" aspect of containers suggests proactive MSP monitoring is a major market need.

4. The biggest challenges in Docker monitoring come down to skills. Indeed, 48 percent of organizations point to the Docker skills gap (i.e., talent is difficult to find) as the top challenge for container monitoring. Finding the root cause of issues (30 percent) and lack of monitoring tools (24 percent) also scored heavily, the research says. ChannelE2E adds: MSPs have an opportunity to fill those monitoring gaps, helping customers to avoid tool and talent challenges along the way.

5. The business impact of Docker container performance is largely unmeasured today. Indeed, 56 percent of companies are not monitoring containers for business impact at the current time, the research says. ChannelE2E adds: Here again, the data reinforces an opportunity for MSP-delivered monitoring services -- along with business-impact data.

6. What would motivate your organization to adopt or enhance? The answer involves complete visibility of container performance is the biggest motivator for organizations (56 percent), the research finds. ChannelE2E adds: MSPs, surely you're starting to see the opportunities here...

7. The time is now for container monitoring: Fully 26 percent of organizations plan to change their container monitoring strategy right now; 10 percent will do so within three to six months, and 7 percent will do so within three months, the research asserts. ChannelE2E adds: That means roughly 43 percent of the Docker container monitoring market will be up for grabs -- and primed for MSPs -- within the next 12 months.

We've only skimmed the surface on the Docker Container Monitoring research. You can find the complete report here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.