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New IDC White Paper: Skies Are Becoming More Clear for Open Cloud

In a blog a few months ago, David Linthicum claimed that the 'open cloud' was getting awfully confusing. He's right: the early days of a technology shift are a land grab of vendors, consortia, and projects who work to lay their claim of the “best” “only” and “true” part of the technology puzzle. Confusion and obfuscation usually follows.

The Linux Foundation and open source community have been working in 2012 to help reduce that confusion, and we think the skies are becoming a bit clearer. There’s certainly more work to do, but events like CloudOpen and research such as the paper we're releasing today with IDC are examples of work we hope can facilitate understanding and collaboration.

Today's paper, "Open Source Cloud System Software," sponsored by The Linux Foundation, reports on the results of a survey conducted by IDC during August of nearly 300 IT users working at companies with more than 1,000 employees. We released some of the data earlier this year and today share the complete assessment of how users perceive the role of Linux and open source software in the cloud.

Four things are evident based on the survey and IDC assessment:

* Windows and Linux users alike insist on collaborative development for the cloud. Ninety-four percent of respondents (of which there were both Windows and Linux users) said collaboration and a vibrant open source ecosystem are important for cloud adoption.

* Linux and open source software are dominant in the cloud due to cost, customization, full transparency and the collaborative development model. The white paper report elaborates on these factors, which distinctly illustrate what users have come to expect in their software.

* Users are defining what an open cloud means to them. The rise of Linux and open source gave power to users like never before and now they're the ones defining what really is the open cloud. IT users tell IDC they define an open cloud by the ability to port and access data; the option to run the cloud platform on premise; and a community that allows them to participate in the technology. Users also state that supporting open APIs and running on Linux are among the top five characteristics of an open cloud.

The IDC white paper elaborates on the community aspect by explaining the importance for users for technology sustainability and longevity. The collaborative development model, as evidenced by Linux, provides long-term, stable support and an accelerated rate of development. It's also extremely effective during the early stages of a technology’s evolution, reducing hardware and software compatibility issues and delivering broad functionality.

* Eighty-six percent of respondents said they will either increase or maintain their current spending on linux and open source software in support of private cloud in the next 12 months. Specifically, forty-seven percent said they would add more Linux and open source during that period.

While there remains an abundance of open cloud technologies, products, projects, vendors and pundits, as David points out, we're starting to understand more about what users expect. This will help streamline community efforts. And, companies get it, too. Today, we're announcing HP’s increased investment in Linux with an upgrade to Platinum membership. Citrix is also increasing investment in Linux as it prioritizes collaborative development in the cloud and upgrades its Linux Foundation membership from Silver to Gold. We're also happy to welcome today four new members who represent different opportunities in the cloud: Cloudscaling, CloudSigma, Cloudsoft and Dreamhost.

I look forward to working with these companies on CloudOpen and on Linux Foundation programs next year.  

Source: IDC White Paper, sponsored by The Linux Foundation, Open Source Cloud System Software, November 2012

 

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