Survey Indicates Private Cloud Adoption Is Slowing Down

A new survey suggests private cloud adoption among enterprises may have plateaued, while public cloud usage is on the increase.

RightScale Inc., a cloud management vendor, conducted the survey in January. "The 2015 State of the Cloud Survey reveals little change in private cloud adoption from 2014," the report states.

The numbers show that private cloud usage ticked up only a percentage point or two from the 2014 survey to the 2015 survey. For example, 33 percent of respondents were using vSphere for their private clouds in 2015, compared with 31 percent the previous year. OpenStack, the open source private cloud platform, increased in usage by 1 percent, going from 12 percent in 2014 to 13 percent in 2015.

Trend or Anomaly?
Whether that becomes a trend is another matter. The report speculated that the stall in private cloud adoption could just be temporary: "The slowing of adoption in private cloud is likely caused by the much talked about complexities of standing up and deploying a private cloud environment. However, interest levels remain strong, so this could lead to a reacceleration of growth over the next year."

One important takeaway from the poll is that although public clouds have greater breadth of adoption, private clouds are the workhorses of businesses, at least in cloud terms. Just 13 percent of enterprises are running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in their public clouds. By contrast, 42 percent of those same large businesses are hosting at least 1,000 VMs in their private clouds.

But the public cloud will swiftly catch up there, as well, according to the survey. Over the next year, 27 percent of enterprises predict that they'll have more than 1,000 VMs running in public clouds. "Fast-forward one year and we may find that enterprises are dividing workloads more equally between public clouds and private clouds, while non-cloud virtualized environments remain relatively static," the report states.

Multiple Clouds, Multiple Vendors
Similar to an informal survey conducted by The Virtualization Practice LLC, the majority of companies are also using more than one type of cloud, and multiple vendors, to get work done. Representing an 8 percent jump from the previous year, 82 percent of the respondents said they'll be using a "portfolio" of clouds. In addition, 55 percent of enterprises expect to use hybrid clouds, which combine private and public clouds, while 13 percent are planning on using more than one public cloud, and 14 percent predict they'll use multiple private clouds.

Azure Ascendant
Also similar to The Virtualization Practice survey is the finding that Microsoft Azure is making solid gains against Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the public cloud arena. AWS still has a significant lead, as 57 percent of respondents use AWS. But its share increased just three points from 2014. Azure, on the other hand, saw significant improvement: the share of those using Azure Infrastructure as a Service doubled, from 6 percent to 12 percent. The Azure Platform-as-a-Service offering grew more modestly, from 7 percent to 9 percent. Overall, it's clear that Azure is gaining in mindshare within IT departments.

VMware Unthreatened
The same can't be said for private clouds, where VMware Inc. continues to dominate. Its vSphere/vCenter solution captured 33 percent of the market in 2015, while vCloud Suite had a 13 percent share, meaning that VMware products comprise almost half of all private clouds. Among enterprises, the VMware lead is even bigger, dominating with 79 percent using its products. Those numbers are similar to the previous year, and no competitor emerged to threaten it, although OpenStack did see a bump in usage from 15 percent to 18 percent.

In all, the survey had 930 respondents. Of those, 306 came from enterprises, defined as those businesses with more than 1,000 employees, and 624 were from the small to midsize business space, with fewer than 1,000 employees.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.