Charts from the 2024 PHP Landscape Survey depicting PHP container and orchestration trends are imposed over a digital background.
May 9, 2024

PHP Container and Orchestration Trends to Know

State of PHP

The adoption of PHP container and orchestration technologies reached a significant milestone in 2023, with 57.5% of surveyed PHP professionals noting current usage of containerization technologies within their IT infrastructure. Has this trend continued into 2024? 

In this blog, we take a close look at how PHP teams are currently utilizing web app containers and orchestration, delve into the year’s most popular technologies, and discuss what these trends mean for your organization.

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About the 2024 PHP Landscape Report

Zend by Perforce is dedicated to establishing a complete picture of the evolving PHP ecosystem. To accomplish this goal in 2024, we surveyed over 500 PHP developers and administrators from around the world to understand the current state of applications and pinpoint emerging patterns. These trends included examining PHP container and orchestration usage, security and compliance concerns, development and deployment strategies, migration trends, and more. 

After we compile our data, we provide in-depth analysis to help prepare your team for the coming months. Our full findings can be accessed as a free download: 2024 PHP Landscape Report. You can also listen in as Zend Senior Product Manager Matthew Weier O’Phinney discusses the report in an on-demand webinar.

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Web app containers allow PHP developers to easily control deployment and distribution, improve application security, and more. To discover how PHP teams are utilizing web app containers, we asked respondents to share their plans around containerization technologies:

  • 58.91% noted that they currently use container technologies.
  • 13.57% stated that they do not currently use container technologies but plan to in the next year.
  • 27.52% reported that they do not use container technologies and have no plans to utilize them in the future.
Chart showing the percentage of survey participants currently using PHP container technology. The data is further segmented by company size.
Source: 2024 PHP Landscape Report

Looking at all responses, we see PHP container adoption staying relatively flat compared to the 2023 PHP Landscape Report. We did note a small increase in respondents indicating current usage of PHP container technologies (57.52% to 58.91%) as well as in those not using container technologies nor planning to do so (22.70% to 27.52%). Participants planning to use container technologies in the next year fell significantly (19.79% to 13.57%).

Further segmentation of the data displayed similar results year over year. Large companies were more likely to indicate usage of container technologies than smaller companies, with 65.69% vs. 54.49% respective adoption.

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2024 Top Container Technologies for Web Apps

Next, we asked respondents who use PHP containers to share which technologies they deploy. We included the ability to select multiple options as needed, and a clear front runner emerged.

Chart showing the most commonly used PHP container technology reported by participants.
Source: 2024 PHP Landscape Report

An impressive 93.75% of respondents reported using Docker for PHP applications, followed by Podman (8.07%), containerd (5.37%), and CRI-O (1.82%). Among those who selected Other, the most common write-in responses were FreeBSD, OpenShift, and LXC.

Looking at these choices year over year, we saw a significant uptick in Docker adoption (68.34% to 93.75%) and moderate dips in Podman (10.22% to 8.07%), containerd (9.38% to 5.37%), and CRI-O (8.54% to 1.82%).

Key Takeaways

While a clear majority of respondents use containers or plan to use them, we note that this adoption is higher in larger organizations. When we consider that larger companies are deploying more often on premise and often have hybrid deployment strategies, containers are a more natural fit and solution to these needs. Additionally, larger companies are more likely to attract and retain engineers with expertise in PHP container operations.

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Our next set of questions set out to determine orchestration trends in 2024. Respondents were asked to share their plans regarding adoption of orchestration tools:

  • 41.67% indicated that they are currently using orchestration technologies.
  • 14.53% reported that they do not currently use orchestration technologies but plan to in the next year.
  • 43.80% noted that they do not use orchestration technologies and have no plans to do so.
Chart showing the percentages of companies currently using PHP orchestration technology. The information is then segmented by company size.
Source: 2024 PHP Landscape Report

Examining these results year over year, we noticed a prominent shift. Those indicating that they do not use orchestration technologies and do not plan to jumped significantly (35.12% to 43.80%), while those stating current usage fell (47.70% to 41.67%).

Looking closer, our results indicated that large companies employing over one hundred people were far more likely to use orchestration technologies, with 50.98% reporting current usage. This is compared to the reported 35.58% of companies with under one hundred employees.

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2024 Top Orchestration Technologies

We then asked our respondents currently using orchestration tools to share which technologies they use. Leading choices included Kubernetes (52.05%), Docker Compose / Swarm (45.74%), and Terraform (25.55%). Rounding out the top five were Ansible (23.97%) and AWS Cloud Formation (16.09%).

A chart showing the most utilized PHP orchestration technologies reported by survey participants
Source: 2024 PHP Landscape Report

Comparing to our 2023 findings, we noted several shifts. Kubernetes usage climbed from 44.81% of respondents to 52.05%, while Ansible (31.90% to 23.97%), Terraform (27.85% to 25.55%), AWS Cloud Formation (25.32% to 16.09%), and Helm (19.49% to 15.46%) all dropped in popularity.
We also saw several interesting shifts looking at orchestration tool selection by company size. Small companies tended to favor Docker Compose / Swarm (50.57%), while larger companies were much more likely to report Kubernetes usage (65.03%).


A chart showing the most commonly reported PHP orchestration technologies used by compaines with over 100 employees.
A chart showing the most commonly reported PHP orchestration technologies used by companies with under 100 employees
Source: 2024 PHP Landscape Report

Key Takeaways

Regarding larger organizations and complex deployment needs, our data suggests companies should embrace orchestration technologies. Consensus lies on containers as being the most reliable way to deploy PHP applications, and for this reason we see Kubernetes and Docker Compose / Swarm as the leaders for orchestration technologies in the PHP ecosystem.
We find the rise popularity of Compose / Swarm particularly interesting, as it demonstrates that the simpler paradigm these tools present is a good fit for many PHP applications—particularly in smaller organizations with lower scaling needs. Additionally, the across-the-board decrease in cloud-specific tooling, such as AWS Cloud Formation and Azure Automation, makes us optimistic as moving away from these technologies prevents vendor lock-in and allows for hybrid cloud deployment opportunities.

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Final Thoughts

Examining the data surrounding web app container and orchestration technology usage, we find that we are seeing a return to a basic principle of PHP: scalability. Containerization and orchestration practices focus on the fact that PHP is horizontally scalable by design, and implementing these technologies helps scale existing architecture, including message queues, job queues, and more.

Despite the many benefits, it must be said that these technologies do not come without cost. This fact is reflected in how they are more widely adopted in larger organizations, where there are more opportunities for training teams or consulting established experts. However, even accounting for the higher initial price and time investment, PHP containers and orchestration can help companies of any size trim long-term costs.

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Additional Resources

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