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OpenStack, the open-source cloud, still gaining converts, survey shows

Survey finds IT managers say OpenStack is less costly alternative to public clouds or on-premises systems, but concerns linger over tooling and security.

OpenStack, the open-source cloud platform, has been embraced by many enterprises for private and hybrid cloud initiatives (and public as well, in some cases). As it matures, however, it is also experiencing growing pains. (The platform was first launched by NASA and Rackspace in 2010.) Namely, a lack of operational tools, security approaches, and lingering concerns about managing private/hybrid cloud cost structures are top challenges facing OpenStack adoption,

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the key takeaway of a recent survey of 647 IT managers and professionals, sponsored by Talligent and conducted by CloudCow and VMblog media. The course of OpenStack provides a picture into the concerns and opportunities for private and hybrid cloud in general.

Overall, things have been looking up for OpenStack. The survey findings indicate that OpenStack is continuing to grow as a preferred method of building private and hybrid clouds. More than half of those surveyed were already using OpenStack within their organization in some form or fashion: 32% were kicking the tires and evaluating it, and 30% were using it to support current projects or production workloads. Another 36% were familiar with the technology, but not yet using it. Two percent admit they never even heard of it. (I guess reading and filling out the survey changed that.)

There are a number of reasons IT managers turn to OpenStack, the main one being that they find it more cost-effective to run their own private cloud than rely on public cloud services with their monthly subscription costs. (mentioned by 61%.) The improved responsiveness of a private/hybrid cloud is also more appealing. Many also see OpenStack as a way to build private/hybrid cloud to consolidate their IT resources. Finally, going to OpenStack-based private/hybrid cloud is seen as a way to beat the high costs of maintaining or upgrading legacy IT systems.

The appeal of private cloud is strong -- a majority of respondents currently using OpenStack are still prepared to maintain most of their environment on-premises, with 54% saying they will continue to be more than 80% private over the next five years. Another 14% expect a balanced mix of private and public cloud over that same period, while 30% using OpenStack plan to move most of their environments to the public cloud during this time. .

The most prevalent types of applications being supported by OpenStack include new greenfield applications, containers, Web-facing applications, and test and QA. .

Interestingly, 80% believe that the big IT vendors are "leading OpenStack Cloud Platform in the right direction."