OpenStack continues to grow

Some people tell me that the popular open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) OpenStack cloud is dying. They tell me that people aren’t using it. To them, I say: Nonsense!

Sure, OpenStack is not Amazon Web Services (AWS) nor any of its major public cloud competitors, but it was never meant to be that.

Yes, OpenStack can be the basis for a public cloud. Rackspace is still offering an OpenStack public cloud. But, what OpenStack is really being used for is private cloud and telecomms. In those spaces, as the 2017 OpenStack Users Survey revealed, it’s doing just fine.

Specifically, OpenStack has gained 44% more deployments since the 2016 survey. Of those, the typical OpenStack user runs 61% to 80% of their infrastructure on OpenStack. In companies with larger clouds — 1,000 cores or more — the median user runs 81 to 100% of its overall infrastructure on OpenStack. That’s none too shabby!

At the same time, larger OpenStack clouds are becoming more common. Thirty-seven percent of OpenStack clouds now have 1,000 or more cores, compared to 29% last year. Three percent of clouds now have over 100,000 cores.

Of those deployments, as the numbers show, most of them are in production. OpenStack is no longer on trial; it’s in use.

A typical deployment runs nine OpenStack projects:

  • 16% are running 12 or more projects
  • 98% of clouds are running the entire OpenStack core services stack. That’s a big increase over last year’s numbers

Swift, OpenStack’s highly available, distributed, eventually consistent object/blob store, has also been growing by leaps and bounds. Sixteen percent of deployments now provision over a petabyte of object storage. Last year, only 4% broke the petabyte barrier, In addition, 33% of Swift users report storing 100,000 or more objects, versus 13% last year.

As you might guess, if you’ve been paying any attention to the cloud, the technology that’s been grabbing IT staff’s attention the most is containers:

  • 65% of OpenStack users are running Docker containers
  • Of the companies running containers, 47% are orchestrating them with Kubernetes

What’s especially interesting about OpenStack users’ container adoption is, by 451 Research‘s count, OpenStack users are adopting containers far faster than the rest of enterprise cloud users. By late 2016, 55% of OpenStack users were using containers, compared to only 17% of other users.

This is more than a little odd because there’s a very practical reason for companies to adopt containers. It’s simple math. With containers, you get four to six times the number of server application instances running as you can using virtual machines on the same hardware.

I’m no comptroller or accountant, but it seems to me that containers saves your business a lot of money. Clearly, OpenStack company CFOs can do the math.

And, who are these companies that have embraced OpenStack? The top industries start, as usual, with information technology businesses. These represents 56% of total respondents. Telecommunications continues to be a strong second at 16%.

The more telling number is that 86% of global telecom companies are adopting OpenStack. Why? For the same reason, OpenStack users are adopting containers: It saves them money. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to put new users on virtualized networks than deploying network hardware to do it the old way.

So, the next time someone tells you OpenStack is going nowhere, take a closer look. You’ll find, as I have, that OpenStack is doing great, thank you very much.


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  1. […] OpenStack has continued to grow. Specifically, multiple surveys show that more and more companies are adopting OpenStack for their […]

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