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State of Cloud Native Development: Who is using Kubernetes?

The way software is developed has drastically changed since containers came about and cloud native technology gained popularity. SlashData worked together with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), to perform an in-depth analysis of the cloud native developer ecosystem. The State of Cloud Native Development report shares insights for those who want to better understand the current state of cloud native and its expected evolution.


The analysis is based on the 21st edition of SlashData’s Developer Nation survey, which reached more than 19,300+ developers globally. The report focuses on cloud native developers, estimating their global population, examining developers’ awareness and usage of Kubernetes, sharing an overview of container orchestration and serverless platform solutions, and finally, exploring security in the cloud native space.


More specifically, the study examines the following trends:

  1. The Cloud Native Landscape (Market size, regional usage and where cloud native developers run their code)

  2. Usage and Awareness of Kubernetes (incl. profile of backend developers using Kubernetes, and whether involvement in emerging areas differs according to Kubernetes usage)

  3. Usage Trends of Orchestration and Serverless Tools

  4. Security in the Cloud Native Space

You can review all insights in the public report here. Continue reading for a quick highlight digest with graphs below.


Key highlights


Cloud Native developer population:

  • The global number of cloud native developers has grown by 1M in the last twelve months to 7.1M in Q3 2021, or 41% of backend developers.

  • Overall, cloud native computing is now most widely adopted in North America (48%), South America (47%), and Oceania (50%).

  • Cloud native developers are leveraging multiple deployment environments: 54% of cloud native developers use two or more environments to run their code, while only 40% of non-cloud native backend developers do.


Kubernetes usage:

  • As of Q3 2021, 30% of developers have used Kubernetes in the last 12 months — an estimated 5.1M backend developers.

  • The most cited reason why backend developers don’t use Kubernetes — given by 36% of those developers — remains a lack of applicability or interest.

  • Fun fact: The larger an organisation a backend developer works for, the more proportionally likely they are to be using Kubernetes.


The top players:

  • The top three vendors offering managed orchestration services — Amazon, Google, and Microsoft — dominate the market.

  • The way in which developers engage with serverless products is changing. With developers choosing fewer serverless products to use simultaneously, competition among vendors in this landscape is set to become fiercer.