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OpenStack installations growing strongly

Deployments of the OpenStack open source cloud platform are growing by 44% year-on-year.

Where the first generation of cloud technology was about hyperscale deployments (either public clouds such as AWS, Azure or Google, or massive private clouds such as eBay's), the second generation is more about private clouds, OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce told attendees at OpenStack Days Melbourne.

Improved technology means small teams can deploy and manage cloud infrastructure, allowing smaller installations to achieve worthwhile cost savings.

The survey found 9% of OpenStack installations are at organisations with 1-9 employees, and 15% with 10-99. So almost a quarter are found at small to medium organisations.

A possibly related issue is the emergence of remotely-managed private clouds where the hardware is located on the organisation's own premises and only used internally, but with management outsourced to remote experts. Even companies as large as GE are adopting this model, Bryce noted.

Overall, OpenStack deployments are growing by 44% year-on-year, "This is a big stat" showing the open source cloud platform is moving into the adoption phase, Bryce said.

Half of the Fortune 100 are using OpenStack, and five million physical cores are in production under OpenStack just among organisations represented by the approximately 1400 respondents to the Foundation's latest user survey.

"Every industry depends on compute... for what they want to do," Bryce observed.

"Bare metal has made a huge resurgence in the last couple of years," so cloud platforms have to handle more than just virtual machines.

There is also the need to incorporate edge computing, especially for telcos, retailers and resources companies, among others. For them, "centralised data centres... are not going to work as an architecture" in future, due to the need to locate IT resources closer to devices (as in IoT). The OpenStack Foundation is forming a working group to address this issue.

The Foundation is working to reduce the complexity of OpenStack, said Bryce. The project grew quickly, and the influx of features resulted in "a little bit of sprawl". So plans are afoot to remove features, prune configuration options, and cull individual software projects that do not really fit inside OpenStack, that duplicate functionality, or that have only received very narrow support from developers.

The survey found the business drivers for choosing OpenStack are changing.

This year, the top reason was to avoid vendor lock-in (up from fourth in 2016). That was followed by accelerating the ability to innovate (up from third), and increasing operational efficiency (down from equal first).

In 2016, first place was shared by saving money, but that slipped to fourth place in the 2017 survey.

The full survey report can be found here.

OpenStack Days Melbourne was hosted by Aptira.

The next international OpenStack Summit will be held in Sydney in early November.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.