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OpenStack revenue to hit $6bn by 2021 as user confidence in open source cloud grows

Reports by 451 Research and the OpenStack Foundation suggest enterprise use of the open cloud platform is on the rise, as issues around installation and upgrades are addressed by the developer community

OpenStack revenue is on course to exceed $6bn by 2021, as its community of contributors continues to address the deployment challenges that have previously dogged the open source cloud platform.

According to 451 Research’s annual OpenStack Pulse report, which tracks the adoption and growth of the technology, the work the community has done to ease the process of installing and upgrading the platform has boosted enterprise confidence in the technology, therefore fuelling adoption.

“This will continue in 2018, as OpenStack becomes more shrink-wrapped and risk is reduced for enterprise use,” the 451 Research report states.

“The platform was once limited to mostly development/testing and proof-of-concept deployments, but there are now mission-critical workloads on OpenStack across nearly all enterprise verticals and regions.”

The report also predicts the amount of revenue generated by service providers with OpenStack-based private clouds will overtake the sum accrued by purveyors of OpenStack-based public clouds by 2018.

These trends are being fuelled by the growing appetite for OpenStack-based cloud deployments in China and Asia-Pacific (APAC), as well as overall enterprise demand for hybrid cloud environments.

“Certain verticals and regions that are less enthusiastic about exclusively using hyperscalers also present a growth area for OpenStack,” the 451 Research report shows.

Al Sadowski, research vice-president at 451 Research, said one challenge OpenStack is facing at the moment is the fact the hype and attention the technology once received is now being diverted to other areas, namely containers.

However, production use cases are emerging whereby companies are combining the use of OpenStack and containers, suggesting organisations are not presently favouring one over the other.

“OpenStack has solidified its position as the leading open source option for building private and public cloud environments, but it is no longer the shiny new toy in the industry – that torch has been passed to the containers and microservices,” said Sadowski.

“And while there is no clear answer yet about OpenStack coexistence with containers, it is worth noting that containers and container management are nascent markets in terms of production use cases.”

Verifying the findings

The analyst house’s take on how OpenStack adoption is progressing partially mirrors the findings of the November 2017 edition of the open source cloud organisation’s bi-annual user survey, the publication of which coincides with with the first day of the OpenStack Summit in Sydney.

Featuring responses from 1,052 users, operating close to 600 OpenStack deployments, the latest survey suggests adoption of the technology is broadening to include organisations operating in a much wider range of industries.

“Although IT remains the largest category, telecommunications, academic/research, retail and manufacturing all grew [their use of OpenStack] in 2017 in addition to significant increases in finance and government,” the OpenStack User Survey report states.

The report also further confirms using OpenStack to build on-premise private clouds remains the most popular deployment type in the user community.

Between 2016 and 2017, the researchers claim to have seen a marked rise in the percentage of on-premise private cloud deployments, rising from 62% in October 2016 to 72% this year.

Public versus private OpenStack adoption

Over the same time period, the percentage of public cloud OpenStack deployments has fallen from around 19% to 12%, although its researchers claim this could be down to how it garners responses to the survey in the first place.

“Because the OpenStack User Survey is opt-in and promoted through OpenStack community channels, it primarily targets users who are directly engaged in the OpenStack Community and likely operating OpenStack cloud, which may not reflect public cloud end users,” the report states.

Incidentally, OpenStack used the first day of the Summit to debut its Public Cloud Passport Program, which allows prospective users to access free trial programmes from service providers who have built OpenStack-powered public clouds, including Memset, OVH and UKCloud.

The company claims there are now around 25 public cloud providers offering OpenStack-based services, across six continents and more than 60 datacentres, and the program is designed to encourage greater adoption of these services within the open source cloud user community.

OpenStack users are not adverse to using public cloud, the survey further shows, as 48% of users said they have adopted a multi-cloud approach to service procurement whereby they combine their use of the open source cloud platform with offerings from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

While Amazon remains the most popular “other type” of cloud that OpenStack users tap into, some respondents also indicated a preference for using Microsoft Azure (27%), Google Cloud Platform (21%) and OpenStack Public Cloud services (19%).

Read more about OpenStack

  • Companies wondering whether OpenStack is ready for prime time in the enterprise should first consider whether their IT administrators are ready for OpenStack.
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack might not be the highest priority product in VMware’s portfolio, but VMware is a major contributor to other OpenStack projects.

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