According to the French philosopher René Descartes, to know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.
In the light of that wisdom, if you want to know what customers really think about OpenStack cloud software, you should pay attention to what they are doing with it. Or at least listen to what they say they are doing with it. And that’s where the latest OpenStack User Survey comes in handy. The 9th version of the survey was released in April 2017 and yields some valuable insights.
First up, this is the largest OpenStack survey to date, with responses from over 1,300 users in 78 different countries. OpenStack clouds are being deployed all over the world and in a broad variety of industries, including the IT sector, government, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, finance, academic, research, and telecommunications. That adds up to pretty widespread adoption, right?
The survey includes 44% more cloud deployments than a year ago and highlights that two-thirds of these deployments are now in production. It also highlights how OpenStack appeals to both large and small organizations, with 37% having more than 10,000 employees and 25% fewer than 100.
It appears that OpenStack’s widespread adoption, maturity, and growth is being fuelled by organizations of almost all sizes seeking to rapidly improve innovation and agility for their business, customers and end users. It’s no wonder that OpenStack is being called out as a “de facto standard platform for the private cloud market”*.
Let’s dive into some more detail.
Business drivers are evolving
The major reasons customers choose OpenStack remain the same, but the ranking of these reasons has changed in this survey. Avoiding vendor lock-in and accelerating the ability to innovate are now at the top of the list. Perhaps that’s not a huge surprise. Dealing with change and needing the flexibility offered by open source solutions are now seen as vital considerations for modern businesses. Increasing operational efficiency and saving money still remain high on customer concerns.
Complexity remains a concern
According to one user, “OpenStack is a great program, but sometimes the complexity of the projects and deployment can be a major problem”.
With a typical OpenStack deployment including 9 of these OpenStack projects or services, it’s no wonder that making OpenStack easier and addressing complexity were major topics at the recent OpenStack Summit in Boston. The good news is that users really value having choice and flexibility over how they consume OpenStack software, ranging from a DIY approach, to managed cloud offerings or the option of a distribution such as SUSE OpenStack Cloud to help simplify things.
Containers are a hot topic
Three-quarters of OpenStack users say Containers are the top emerging technology of interest to them. It ranks ahead of SDN/NFV, bare metal, and even hybrid cloud. For those using containers, 47% are also using Kubernetes.
With the ability to combine OpenStack Magnum with Kubernetes, it’s no wonder that 451 Research called out that OpenStack users are adopting containers 3x faster than the rest of the enterprise market. No doubt a large factor in this fast adoption is OpenStack’s ability to integrate bare metal, virtualized and containerized workloads onto a single software-defined infrastructure.
In the Interests of full disclosure, I’m a product marketing manager responsible for SUSE OpenStack Cloud. I have a deep interest in the success of OpenStack and in making sure customers have a great experience with it. That having been said, the recent user survey gives some compelling reasons for exploring OpenStack and making sure it’s on your shortlist.
Follow Mark on Twitter
*Forrester: OpenStack’s Global Traction Expands for Its Newton Release. Dec 2016.