OpenStack’s Survey Focuses on Next Wave of Customers’ Cloud Priorities

December 27, 2017

OpenStack’s Survey Focuses on Next Wave of Customers’ Cloud Priorities


By Jean S. Bozman

The OpenStack Foundation’s semi-annual survey of more than 1,000 OpenStack customers has revealed new priorities for future OpenStack production deployments.

OpenStack has used surveys of its customer base to take snapshots of OpenStack adoption. This was the case for the recently announced interoperability testing initiative that is being launched in 2018. As OpenStack deployments grow and mature, improved interoperability between OpenStack cloud software and those from other open-source providers have been climbing higher on the priority list.

Key findings of the new survey published in November, 2017, at the OpenStack Sydney conference, highlighted customer’s deployment patterns and priorities for production deployments, including the following:

  • Kubernetes use. Kubernetes orchestration software is growing rapidly in OpenStack deployments. Kubernetes was used by 50% of the survey respondents who reported using a PaaS (platform as a service) or CaaS (container as a service) software tool.
  • Bare-metal-as-a-service (BaaS) use for production deployments. Survey data showed that BaaS use inside the OpenStack customer base surged in 2017, with survey respondents reporting that BaaS use grew from 9% to 20% from April, 2017 through November, 2017. Drivers for this trend include new BaaS functionality in an OpenStack 2017 release. and growing use of orchestration frameworks on customers’ hardware.
  • Multi-Cloud. Nearly half of the respondents said they are working on multi-cloud deployments – with 48% of respondents saying they already have some measure of multi-cloud use in their organization. OpenStack provided some example case studies, including Workday, GE Healthcare and Adobe, at
  • Vertical markets. OpenStack use is increasing in a number of vertical markets, including finance, telco, government and research, based on the November survey data. Telcos are showing increased interest in edge computing, due to Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor-based data from embedded devices, and consumer-generated data.
  • Faster growth in Asia, especially China. Asia now accounts for about 30% of OpenStack use – about the same level as Europe and North America. China’s cloud service providers, telcos and banking companies generated rapid growth in OpenStack use and adoption in Asia.



The November survey results point to a blending of OpenStack technologies and vendor software products to build private, public and hybrid clouds – with more intensive adoption in private clouds inside large enterprises.

For enterprises, concerns about security, reliability and availability are priorities for any deployment of new software. That pattern of adoption is inevitable in large organizations that have already invested substantial resources in cloud development since “the cloud” first became a commercial platform in 2008-2009.

Rapid growth of networks is another driver: Longtime OpenStack users, including AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile and T-Systems are expanding their use of OpenStack as they build out 5G networks worldwide. These 5G networks, leveraging cloud technology, will carry the next wave of Internet-enabled voice and data traffic.


Emerging Requirements for Future OpenStack Releases

The November survey showed that the majority of OpenStack production deployments are taking place in private clouds – within enterprises and organizations. That is a key driver for customers that want to see better interoperability testing for OpenStack software co-deployed with open-source software from other providers and from multiple cloud services.

Growing maturity in cloud software demands that many products work together smoothly. High availability, security and reliability are all top priorities in a mature computing environment. Flexibility of deployment is also a key design point for modern cloud environments that allow businesses to rapidly scale up resources, and to innovate and compete more effectively within their industry or market segment.

Customers want to reduce the complexity of deploying and managing the modules. To that end, the OpenStack Foundation announced at the OpenStack Sydney conference that it is planning to simplify its portfolio of modules, sometimes combining several development projects together where projects have overlapped.

The November survey shows that:

  • OpenStack customers are working more closely with Kubernetes software to manage containers across their cloud environments. The intensive use of Kubernetes is clear from the survey results – and shows the importance of ensuring that OpenStack software works well with future Kubernetes releases.
  • Many customers are planning for multi-cloud environments – and many already tap into multiple clouds to access a variety of cloud services. The process of OpenStack software being woven into enterprise deployments demands that OpenStack core modules will need to work better with cloud software from vendors – and from open-source groups.
  • The increasing use of bare-metal-as-a-service (BaaS) shows that OpenStack is being layered on top of existing hardware deployments in enterprises and large organizations. This is another sign that OpenStack is being deployed within private clouds, which are building clouds with both new – and existing — cloud infrastructure.
  • The Asia/Pacific region, notably China, is adopting OpenStack rapidly, making that region account for as much OpenStack use as The Americas and EMEA. The Sydney conference, in terms of its location and its attendees, was a sign of the importance of being responsive to Asian customers leveraging OpenStack.



Based on customer feedback, the OpenStack Foundation already understands that the OpenStack “core” technologies – including Nova for compute, Neutron for networking, and Cinder for storage – are being increasingly adopted in private cloud production environments around the world. That leads to greater focus on security, reliability and availability – all of them key concerns for enterprise IT organizations.

The survey shed light on patterns of adoption – some of which are surprising for those who have thought that OpenStack adoption was actually decreasing, compared with other open-source building blocks for cloud. Given all of that, and changing perceptions of its role in the IT industry, the OpenStack Foundation is taking a pragmatic approach, by using the survey results to inform its plans for 2018 projects – and by working to keep pace with changing and emerging customer requirements associated with each major OpenStack release.





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About Jean Bozman

Jean is a senior industry analyst focusing her research on server technology, storage technology, database software and the emerging market for Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI).

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