10 key takeaways from the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud report

RightScale, the multi-cloud management company, has once again published its annual report on the state of cloud adoption – although this time it was in tandem with Flexera, a software company that acquired them last September – and long story short, a lot of numbers are going up. Cloud cost optimization continues to be the top focus for the third year in a row, rising to 64 per cent. Enterprise cloud spending is up, hybrid cloud usage is up, container use is up – you get the idea.

RightScale has been surveying thousands of cloud users over the years to identify adoption patterns among enterprises and SMBs. More than 780 people responded to this year’s RightScale survey, 58 per cent of which were enterprises with 1,000 or more employees. RightScale also notes that only 21 per cent of the respondents were RightScale users themselves. There’s a lot to go through, so we’ve compiled our top 10 takeaways from this year’s report.

10: Hybrid cloud – kind of a big deal

Organizations are using almost five public and private clouds, a slight increase from last year. Nearly 85 per cent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy (meaning a combination of public and private cloud environments), and only 10 per cent are focused on a single public cloud. Three per cent have a single private cloud, or no strategy at all.

SMBs are a bit behind at 61 per cent, and nearly a quarter of respondents in the SMB space say they use a single public cloud environment. Only 4 per cent say they have a single private cloud only, and interestingly enough, 11 per cent have no plans at all.

Multi-cloud strategies (meaning a combination of two or more public cloud environments) took a step back last year, dropping from 21 per cent to 17 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Hybrid on the other hand, rose from 51 per cent to 58 per cent in the same year. But when asked what their top priority was heading into 2019, 31 per cent of enterprises pointed to the public cloud, followed closely by hybrid at 28 per cent. Half of enterprises, according to Rightscale, spend more than $1 million per year on public cloud. Public cloud spending among all respondents will grow 24 per cent in 2019.

9: Spending on cloud ain’t easy

Adopting cloud can get complicated. Budgeting for it can be an actual nightmare, so it’s no surprise that respondents feel that the number one priority in 2019 is cloud cost optimization. Nearly 65 per cent of respondents felt this way, up from 58 per cent in 2018. While 64 per cent of all respondents cite optimizing cloud spend as the top initiative, that number is even higher among intermediate and advanced cloud users at 70 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively. Moving more workloads to cloud was the second priority at 58 per cent.

Oh, and did we mention cloud cost optimization was top of mind for organizations for the third year in a row? It’s true, which is why it’s a little surprising to see that cloud users continue to underestimate wasted spend. This is attributed to an absence in automated policies that shutdown workloads after hours, or failure to take advantage of cloud discounts.


Source: RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera.

8: Kubernetes reaches new heights

The use of Docker containers continues to grow with adoption jumping to 57 per cent from 49 per cent in 2018, but the real stand-out in the world of containers is Kubernetes, the orchestration tool for Docker. It achieved the fastest growth, increasing from 27 per cent to 48 per cent adoption. Enterprise adoption is even higher, with 66 per cent using Docker and 60 per cent leveraging Kubernetes. AWS container service (ECS/EKS) adoption remains flat at 44 per cent, while Azure Container Service adoption reaches 28 per cent (up from 20 per cent in 2018) and Google Container Engine grows slightly to reach adoption of 15 per cent.

7: PaaS explosion

While there is no shortage of organizations that are satisfied with the instant computing infrastructure provided by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms, it’s clear more of them are gravitating towards a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. Among other advantages, the inclusion of an operating system and application services within PaaS help organizations speed up their development processes. Organizations are taking advantage of this flexibility to build and manage a bevy of cloud services, such as push notifications (50 per cent) Container-as-a-Service (48 per cent) and IoT (29 per cent). But for the most part, organizations continue to use PaaS as simply a dumping ground for data (60 per cent).

6: More Azure please

AWS is still the king of the hill when it comes to cloud, but Azure is nipping at its heels. Overall, public cloud adoption on Azure grew from 45 per cent to 52 per cent, narrowing the gap with AWS, which actually suffered a 3 per cent drop from 64 per cent in 2018. Google continues to maintain its spot on the podium, increasingly slightly from 18 to 19 per cent adoption. While VMware Cloud on AWS – in its second year of availability – moved up to the fourth spot this year, increasing to 12 per cent from 8 per cent in 2018.

One more interesting fact: Azure’s quest to catch up with AWS looks a lot better among enterprises, where Azure adoption increases slightly from 58 per cent to 60 per cent while AWS adoption in this space remained practically flat at 67 per cent.

Source: RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera.

5. Private cloud grows slow and steady

Almost all private cloud providers are experiencing a bit of growth. Despite a relatively flat adoption rate from last year (50 per cent), VMware vSphere continues to lead the pack, while OpenStack (28 per cent), VMware vCloud Director (27 per cent), Microsoft System Center (25 per cent), and bare metal (24 per cent) all show small increases compared to last year.

Public cloud juggernauts Azure and AWS are leaving a mark on the private cloud space now, too. While it’s currently in the sixth spot, Azure Stack shows the highest growth (22 per cent in 2019 compared 17 per cent in 2018). AWS Outpost, announced late 2018, quickly gained traction out of the gate (12 per cent) and respondents appear to be very interested in using Outpost in the future (29 per cent).

4. Ansible on the rise

Automation and configuration management is becoming less of a pain with open source resources, such as Ansible, and among all respondents, Ansible has a 41 per cent adoption rate, followed by Chef and Puppet at 37 per cent. Enterprises are becoming increasingly comfortable with these tools as well. Ansible has an even higher adoption rate among enterprises at 53 per cent. The same goes for Chef and Puppet, tied at 50 per cent. SMBs, many of which aren’t able to adopt the enterprise version of these open source configuration tools, are turning to Ansible as well. Among SMBs, Ansible leads the way in adoption with 26 per cent, followed by Terraform and Chef at 22 and 20 per cent, respectively.

3. Lack of resources? Tell me about it

Among all respondents, 27 per cent of them cite a lack of resources and expertise as the biggest cloud challenge, which tops all other listed challenges, including governance, security and spending. Due to their sheer size, it’s a no-brainer that enterprises face even more challenges than SMBs, and cloud spending and governance top that list at 84 per cent. Security is a close third at 81 per cent.

More than 50 per cent of all respondents agree that understanding cost implications of software licenses is the number one issue when it comes to software challenges in the cloud.

2. Enterprises leaning on cloud teams for success

Long-gone are the days when two IT people working out of a closet are able to manage an organization’s entire cloud infrastructure. That’s why 66 per cent of enterprises have a central cloud team or centre of excellence with another 21 per cent planning one (up from 57 per cent and 24 per cent the previous year). What’s more interesting, however, is that there’s an obvious difference between what the central IT and business unit teams deem to be their responsibility when it comes to cloud-related decisions. Business teams are much less interested in managing costs of cloud services, but seem to be more involved when it comes to deciding on apps appropriate for cloud, and acting as a cloud broker.

Source: RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera.

1: Everyone is doing it

A whopping 95 per cent of respondents say they use cloud in some way. Public cloud adoption is 91 per cent and private cloud adoption is 72 per cent. 69 per cent of respondents use at least one public and one private cloud.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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