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In a recent interview, we enjoyed taking the opportunity to profile Mirantis, one of the leading cloud computing providers using the open source cloud OS OpenStack. While Amazon Web Services remains the ‘big dog’ of the cloud computing world, many enterprises are looking at open sourece solution for the same reasons they have gravitated to Linux over the years – i.e. not to be locked into a proprietary vendor. As a side note, OpenStack certainly received a big boost earlier this year when IBM endorsed OpenStack its open source cloud architecture of choice. 

In that context, it was interesting to read the OpenStack Foundation’s latest survey of who is using OpenStack.  The survey has a couple of points worth highlighting:

  • In terms of the size of Open Stack users, 26% are from the smallest companies of 1-20 employees. In second place are those on the opposite end of the scale – large enterprises with 10,000-plus employees are 21% of OpenStack users. This suggests that OpenStack has a great opportunity to make further inroads in the middle ground between the largest enterprises and the smallest ones.
  • The dominant location where enterprises use OpenStack is within on-premises private clouds, where 60% of the OpenStack deployments occur. Furthermore, a further 17% of OpenStack users do so through a hosted private cloud. The public cloud, by contrast, does not seem to primary focus, as only 15% of OpenStack deployments deploy as public clouds. Given AWS’ primary focus to date on promoting a public cloud, its’ likely that OpenStack has not been in direct competition that frequently with AWS to date. Given that VMWare has generally targeted on-premises, its’ possible that it may be more likely for VMWare to clash with dedicated OpenStack providers such as Mirantis.
  • Meanwhile, the Top five enterprise applications running on OpenStack are – in order from one to five – the following: Web Services, Quality Assurance/testing, databases, research and continuous integration. Not a huge surprise there, as these are probably the most common types of applications run across cloud networks more broadly.

While OpenStack adoption is still a work in progress, the indications are increasingly that it will emerge as the de-facto open source cloud platform – the ‘Linux of the cloud’ if you will – and IT professionals involved in cloud computing would benefit from gaining a basic familiarity with the platform.

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