'State of the Cloud Report' proclaims hybrid is king

RightScale's 2014 report finds hybrid cloud in widest use, with Amazon still the overall leader but OpenStack catching up fast

What's the state of business cloud in 2014? According to enterprise cloud SaaS provider RightScale in its newly published 2014 State of the Cloud Report, hybrid cloud is where everyone's at. Amazon is still tops for public and private cloud, but OpenStack is applying serious pressure in the hybrid world, and the next step for the cloud is making self-service IT more of a reality.

RightScale's report is drawn from surveys of more than 1,000 IT professionals at companies big and small, technical and nontechnical. While some of the results are right in line with what you'd expect from a quick skim of today's cloud headlines, a few surprises arose.

Just about everyone's in the cloud, and hybrid is king

No surprise there: 94 percent of the folks polled said they had cloud adoption of some kind going on. People are quickly moving past what RightScale calls the "Cloud Watcher" stage -- people just making plans for cloud use -- and embarking on their first cloud projects ("Cloud Beginners"), running apps ("Cloud Explorers"), or relying heavily on cloud ("Cloud Focused").

Hybrid cloud's also where the majority of the action is. The biggest slice of respondents -- 58 percent -- are not relying on public or private cloud alone, but a mix of both.

Amazon's in the lead for public; OpenStack's gaining fast for private

Amazon was right at the top of RightScale's lists of public, enterprise public, and small-business public clouds that are either in use or being considered for use -- not by a small margin, either. In the No. 2 and No. 3 spots -- a small surprise here -- were Rackspace Public Cloud and VMware vCloud Hybrid Service. Google App Engine figured fairly strongly in the results, but Microsoft Azure still lags behind.

In private clouds, VMware was tops with vSphere and vCenter as the software of choice, and in the No. 2 slot -- but not far behind -- was OpenStack. With small-business private clouds, OpenStack was actually far ahead in overall use, but VMware still has a comfortable lead where applications are actually being run. This echoes some of the criticisms levied at OpenStack about its actual uptake within companies as opposed to all the heat, noise, and light generated by its proponents.

Next stop: Self-service IT

Another major trend that RightScale sees being enabled by cloud is what it labels "self-service IT," which is automating devops, giving developers more freedom to work and innovate unfettered, and leaving IT to do the work it needs to keep things stable. The more mature the use of cloud in an organization, the greater the use of devops; and the general rate of devops adoption is 62 percent, up from last year's 54 percent.

But the report discusses only a small portion of the devops toolset -- which is disappointing -- and focuses mainly on whether Chef or Puppet is taking the lead in organizations (it's Chef). More recent tools like Docker aren't discussed at all, which seems a major omission given the devops culture that's sprung up around Docker and the central role it's now playing in cloud deployment.

On the whole, though, RightScale's assessment is spot-on. Devops is one of the most concrete ways that the advantages of the cloud have manifested within organizations, and it's growing right along with the development of the cloud as a place where more of IT is being done.

This story, "'State of the Cloud Report' proclaims hybrid is king," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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