November 21, 2016

Trends in the Open Source Cloud: A Shift to Microservices and the Public Cloud

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Learn about the growing importance of cloud technologies in our free 2016 Guide to the Open Cloud report.

Cloud computing is the cornerstone of the digital economy. Companies across industries now use the cloud -- private, public or somewhere in between -- to deliver their products and services.

A recent survey of industry analysis and research that we conducted for our 2016 Guide to the Open Cloud report produced overwhelming evidence of this.

Forty-one percent of all enterprise workloads are currently running in some type of public or private cloud, according to 451 Research. That number is expected to rise to 60 percent by mid-2018. And Rightscale reports that some 95 percent of companies are at least experimenting in the cloud. Enterprises are continuing to shift workloads to the cloud as their expertise and experience with the technology increases.

As we mentioned last week, companies in diverse industries -- from banking and finance to automotive and healthcare -- are facing the reality that they’re now in the technology business. In this new reality, cloud strategies can make or break an organization’s market success. And successful cloud strategies are built on Linux and open source software.

But what does that cloud strategy look like today and what will it look like in the future?

Short Term: Hybrid Cloud Architectures

While deployment and management remain a challenge, microservices architecture is now becoming mainstream. In a recent Nginx survey of 1,800 IT professionals, 44 percent said they’re using microservices in development or in production. Adoption was highest among small and medium-sized businesses. Not coincidentally, the use of public cloud is also predominant among SMBs, which are more nimble and faster to respond to market changes than large enterprises with legacy applications and significant on-premise infrastructure investments.   

Many reports tout hybrid cloud as a fast-growing segment of the cloud. Demand is growing at a compound rate of 27 percent, “far outstripping growth of the overall IT market,” according to researcher MarketsandMarkets. And IDC predicts that more than 80 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017.

However, hybrid cloud growth is happening predominantly among large enterprises with legacy applications and the budget and staffing to build private clouds. They turn to cloud for storage and scale-out capabilities, but keep most critical workloads on premise.  

In the mid-market, hybrid cloud adoption stands at less than 10 percent, according to 451 Research. Hybrid cloud is, then, a good transition point for legacy workloads and experimenting with cloud implementation. But it suffers from several challenges with more advanced cloud implementations, including management complexity and cost.

“Most organizations are already using a combination of cloud services from different cloud providers. While public cloud usage will continue to increase, the use of private cloud and hosted private cloud services is also expected to increase at least through 2017. The increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multi-cloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios.

“Although hybrid cloud scenarios will dominate, there are many challenges that inhibit working hybrid cloud implementations. Organizations that are not planning to use hybrid cloud indicated a number of concerns, including: integration challenges, application incompatibilities, a lack of management tools, a lack of common APIs and a lack of vendor support,” according to Gartner’s 2016 Public Cloud Services worldwide forecast.

Long term: Microservices on the Public Cloud

Over the long term, workloads are shifting away from hybrid cloud to a public cloud market dominated by providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Compute. “The share of enterprise workloads moved to the public cloud is expected to triple over the next five years,” from 16 percent to 41.3 percent of workloads runnin g in the public cloud, according to a recent JP Morgan survey of enterprise CIOs. Among this group, 13 percent said they view AWS as “intrinsic to future growth.”

By the end of 2016 the public cloud services market will reach $208.6 billion in revenue, growing by 172 percent from $178 billion in 2015, according to Gartner. Cloud application services (software-as-a-service or SaaS) is one of the largest segments of that and is expected to grow by 21.7 percent in 2016 to reach $38.9 billion while Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is projected to see the most growth at 42.8 percent in 2016.

The public cloud itself is largely built on open source software. Offerings including Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine and OpenStack are all built on open source technologies. They provide APIs that are well documented. They also provide a framework that is consistent enough to allow users to duplicate their infrastructure from one cloud to another without a significant amount of customization.

This allows for application portability, or the ability to move from one system to another without significant effort. The less complex the application the more likely that it can remain portable across cloud providers. And so the development practice that seems to be most suited for this is to abstract things into their simplest parts -- a microservices architecture.

A whole new class of open source cloud computing projects has now begun to leverage the elasticity of the public cloud and enable applications designed and built to run on it. Organizations should become familiar with these open source projects, with which IT managers and practitioners can build, manage, and monitor their current and future mission-critical cloud resources.

Learn more about trends in open source cloud computing and see a list of the top open source cloud computing projects. Download The Linux Foundation’s Guide to the Open Cloud report today!

Read the other articles in the series:

4 Notable Trends in Open Source Cloud Computing

3 Emerging Cloud Technologies You Should Know

Why the Open Source Cloud Is Important

 

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