RightScale: Where the cloud is going next

RightScale's cloud survey shows the hybrid and public clouds growing at the expense of private clouds.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

RightScale, an enterprise cloud management company, found in its 2015 State of the Cloud Survey that enterprises are increasingly implementing a hybrid cloud strategy that encompasses public and private clouds.

RightScale has found that almost all companies have, or are, adopting the cloud.
-- RightScale
That's not the whole story. RightScale also found that more enterprise workloads are currently deployed in private clouds, public clouds are used more broadly and are expected to attract new workloads at a faster rate.

The survey also discovered that the cloud has been moving from shadow IT to enterprise IT management. Today, it's the CIO and executive suite that are making the majority of cloud spending decisions and taking the lead to bring cloud services to their organization.

"The tide of enterprise cloud adoption has shifted from shadow IT to strategic adoption led by central IT teams," said Michael Crandell, RightScale's CEO, in a statement. "As enterprise IT has become more open to public cloud and more comfortable with cloud security, it is now in a strong position to broker cloud services to internal customers and drive cloud adoption forward. In the next year organizations expect to shift more workloads to cloud, with public cloud workloads growing faster than private cloud."

RightScale conducted the survey in January 2015. In it, RightScale questioned technical professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations about their adoption of cloud computing. The 930 respondents range from technical executives to managers and practitioners and represent organizations of varying sizes across many industries.

The RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report highlights include:

Hybrid cloud is the preferred strategy: 93 percent of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). At the same time, 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. That's up from 74 percent in 2014. Public clouds are used by more organizations, 88 percent, while private cloud, 63 percent, run more workloads. That said, only 13 percent of enterprises run more than 1,000 Virtual Machines (VMs) in public cloud, while 22 percent of organizations run more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud. In other words, private cloud users tend to use their clouds more.

Still lots of room for software-as-service (SaaS): While 68 percent of enterprises run SaaS apps, less than a fifth are running their application portfolio in the cloud. At the same time, 55 percent of enterprises report that a significant portion of their existing application portfolio have been built with cloud-friendly architectures. In short, we can expect to see software-as-a-service (SaaS) to continue to grow.

DevOps rises, Docker soars: Overall DevOps adoption has risen to 66 percent, with enterprises reaching 71 percent. The most popular DevOps programs, Chef and Puppet, are used by 28 and 24 percent of organizations respectively. As for containers, Docker, in its first year, is already used by 13 percent of organizations with a whopping 35 percent of companies planning to deploy it.

IT management take cloud services' reins: 62 percent of enterprises report that central IT makes the majority of cloud spending decisions. 43 percent of them are offering a self-service portal for access to cloud services, with an additional 41 percent planning or developing a portal.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominates public cloud, Azure makes enterprise inroads: AWS adoption is 57 percent, while Azure IaaS is second at 12 percent vs. 6 percent in 2014. In the enterprise, Azure's natural home, Microsoft's cloud offering narrows the gap with 19 percent adoption as compared to AWS with 50 percent. Google's IaaS offering shows the faster growth among enterprises, increasing from 4 percent in 2014 to 9 percent in 2015.

Private cloud stalls in 2015: Respondents reported minimal changes in adoption of private cloud technologies from 2014. VMware vSphere continues to lead with 53 percent of enterprise respondents reporting that they use it as a private cloud. Enterprises using OpenStack shows the largest increase for 2015, growing by 3 percent. Microsoft's new Azure Pack offering shows strong use in its first year, used by 11 percent of enterprises.

I disagree with RightScale's last conclusion. I see established businesses getting more mileage out of private clouds. Remember, private cloud users tend to run more VMs. I can't help but notice that RightScale's own results indicate that it's the hybrid cloud that's really growing. What I see are businesses starting with public clouds, then moving to hybrid cloud models by bringing in private clouds.

In addition, I believe that while vSphere currently dominates private cloud architectures, OpenStack and Azure-based approaches have plenty of room to grow at the expense of both the public cloud and vSphere.

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