OpenStack momentumUsage of the open source OpenStack cloud management framework has been limited mostly to cloud services providers due to the complexity involved in standing up these IT environments. But, a new report from 451 Research published this week suggests that in 2018 the revenue generated by service providers that use OpenStack to deliver private clouds will exceed the revenue generated by public clouds based on OpenStack.

Overall, 451 Research forecasts that OpenStack revenues will exceed $6 billion by 2021, which represents a 30-percent compound annual growth rate between now and then. That forecast comes on the heels of a bevy of similar research reports published recently that all indicate increased OpenStack momentum.

Hybrid cloud demands

451 Research suggests the rise of hybrid cloud computing will be the biggest driver of that growth. The assumption is that rather than supporting multiple cloud computing platforms based on disparate cloud architectures there will be a rationalization in favor of OpenStack cloud platforms running on premises and in a public cloud.

This week, the OpenStack community gathered in Sydney at an OpenStack Summit where the main topic of discussion was the most recent Pike release of OpenStack based on Linux containers. This approach makes it simpler to mix and match OpenStack modules as IT organizations see fit. For example, Juniper Networks announced it is combining the Contrail software-defined networking platform with a Red Hat OpenStack 12 platform based on Pike to create a managed cloud platform.

Container-as-a-Service environments

Alas, when it comes to the future of cloud platforms, there is more uncertainty than ever. While OpenStack is being heralded as a conduit for hybrid cloud computing, there’s significant enthusiasm building for Kubernetes as a Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) environment. Just about every IT vendor has pledged to make Kubernetes available on-premises and in a public cloud, including most recently an alliance Cisco announced with Google.

In some case, Kubernetes will be deployed on top of OpenStack infrastructure. But, deploying Kubernetes on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or even a bare-metal server is just as viable. At the same time, VMware is making steady progress in terms of deploying its commercial stack of software on AWS and other clouds, and Microsoft continues to make a case for instances of Azure running on premises or in the cloud. In both cases, it’s possible to deploy Kubernetes on top of those stacks as well.

Kubernetes has a lot of momentum, in much the same way as an open source edition of the Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service environment attempted to provide a unifying layer of abstraction for IT. The difference is that Kubernetes is lighter weight and enjoys broader support. Even Docker, Inc. now provides IT organizations with the option to deploy Kubernetes or its Swarm cloud orchestration software as the foundation of a CaaS environment.

There’s no doubt managed service providers will be encountering more instances of OpenStack running on-premises and in public clouds. But OpenStack is likely to be only one of several foundation platforms that will make up the extended enterprise that MSPs will increasingly be relied on to manage.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis.

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