Gartner Research

What You Need to Know About Docker and Containers

Published: 14 November 2016

ID: G00302697

Analyst(s): Richard Watson


Docker democratized containers, giving application-focused virtualization to DevOps-minded developers. This assessment guides technical professionals responsible for architecture and infrastructure through the benefits and risks of adopting Docker.

Table Of Contents
  • Introduction to Docker
    • What Is Docker?
  • Docker in Detail
    • Docker Client and Server (Daemon)
    • Containers and Image Formats
    • Building Containers With Dockerfiles
    • Docker Registries
  • Benefits of Docker
    • Benefits of Operating System Containers
    • Benefits Directly Attributable to Docker
  • Docker Adoption
    • Why Did Docker Take Off?
  • Risks and Challenges of Adopting Docker
    • Using Containers for Complex Applications
    • "There's Just No Getting Around It, You're Building a Distributed System"
    • Fragmentation in the Container Market
    • Security and Risk Management Concerns
    • The Illusion of Cloud Portability
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Ignore the Bleeding Edge of the Docker Ecosystem and Gain Container Experience Now
  • Invest Now in Changing Development and Test Configurations to Use Docker for Custom-Built Software
  • Use Docker in Production If You Have Sophisticated and Agile Operations
  • Secure Your Container Environments and Build a Secure Workflow From the Start
  • Plan on a Combination of Containers and Virtual Machines

The Details

  • Participants in the Docker Ecosystem
    • Contributors to the Core Technology and OS Distros
    • Docker Commercial Support Partners
    • Managed Cloud Services and Software to Orchestrate and Manage Docker-Based Containers
    • Builders of Container "Fabric" Services
    • Software Vendors Distributing Their Products as Official Docker Images
  • Docker Sounds Like ...
    • Docker vs. Virtual Machines
    • Docker vs. Vagrant
    • Docker vs. Application Virtualization
    • Docker vs. Server Configuration Management
    • Docker vs. OS Package Managers
    • Docker vs. Application Dependency Management
    • Docker vs. Platform as a Service

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