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Cloud Computing Trends: 2015 State of the Cloud Survey

Cloud Computing Trends: 2015 State of the Cloud Survey

Update: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey key findings are now available.

In January 2015, RightScale conducted its fourth annual State of the Cloud Survey of the latest cloud computing trends, with a focus on infrastructure-as-a-service. The survey asked 930 IT professionals about their adoption of cloud infrastructure and related technologies. The respondents ranged from technical executives to managers and practitioners and represented organizations of varying sizes across many industries. The margin of error is 3.2 percent.

We highlight several key findings from the survey in this blog post. For the complete survey results, download the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report

Hybrid Cloud Remains the Preferred Strategy

  • 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, up from 74 percent in 2014.

Public Cloud Leads in Breadth of Enterprise Adoption While Private Cloud Leads in Workloads

  • 88 percent of enterprises are using public cloud while 63 percent are using private cloud.
  • 13 percent of enterprises run more than 1,000 VMs in public cloud, while 22 percent of organizations run more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud.

Plenty of Headroom for More Cloud Workloads

  • 68 percent of enterprises run less than a fifth of their application portfolios in the cloud.
  • 55 percent of enterprises report that a significant portion of their existing application portfolios are not in cloud, but are built with cloud-friendly architectures.

Enterprise Central IT Teams Take the Reins to Broker Cloud Services

  • 62 percent of enterprises report that central IT makes the majority of cloud spending decisions.
  • 43 percent of IT teams are offering a self-service portal for access to cloud services, with an additional 41 percent planning or developing a portal.

DevOps Rises; Docker Soars

  • Overall DevOps adoption rises to 66 percent, with enterprises reaching 71 percent.
  • Docker, in its first year, is already used by 13 percent of organizations with a whopping 35 percent of organizations planning to use.

AWS Continues Its Public Cloud Domination, but Azure Makes Inroads

  • Overall, AWS adoption by enterprises is 57 percent while Azure IaaS is second at 12 percent, up from 6 percent in 2014.

Private Cloud Stalls in 2015

  • 2014 vs. 2015 shows just a small change in private cloud adoption as VMware vSphere continues to lead with 53 percent of enterprise respondents reporting that they use it as a private cloud.

Cloud Computing Trends

Hybrid Cloud Remains the Preferred Strategy

Increasingly, enterprises plan to use a portfolio of clouds, with 82 percent reporting a multi-cloud strategy as compared to 74 percent in 2014.

Cloud Computing Trends Enterprise Cloud Strategy


This year’s survey reveals that 55 percent of enterprises are planning for hybrid clouds, 13 percent expect to use multiple public clouds, and 14 percent are planning for multiple private clouds.


Public Cloud Leads in Breadth of Adoption While Private Cloud Leads in Enterprise Workloads

Cloud computing adoption continues to be a given with 93 percent of respondents reporting that they are adopting cloud. Eighty-eight percent of respondents are using public cloud and 63 percent using private cloud, with 58 percent using both.

Cloud Computing Trends Who is Using Cloud


Although public cloud leads in the number of organizations adopting, among larger enterprises, private cloud leads in the number of workloads being run. Only 13 percent of enterprises are running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in public cloud, while 22 percent of enterprises have more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud. The private cloud lead in workloads may represent existing virtualized environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.

However, enterprises are expecting to grow public cloud workloads more quickly. In 12 months, 27 percent of enterprise respondents expect to have more than 1,000 VMs — more than doubling the current 13 percent. Fast-forward one year and we may find that enterprises are dividing workloads more equally between public clouds and private clouds.

Cloud Computing Trends Number of VMs Enterprises Are Running In Public Cloud


Cloud Computing Trends Number of VMs Enterprises Are Running In Private Cloud


Plenty of Headroom for More Cloud Workloads

While cloud adoption is growing quickly, most enterprises (68 percent) run less than 20 percent of their workloads in the cloud. However, they report plenty of headroom to move additional applications to the cloud. A majority (55 percent) of respondents report that at least another 20 percent of applications are built on cloud-friendly architectures and are ready for cloud.

Cloud Computing Trends More Headroom for Cloud Apps


Enterprise Central IT Teams Take the Reins to Broker Cloud Services

The early public cloud market was largely driven by small technology-focused companies and forward-looking business units within larger enterprises. More recently, as enterprises have become increasingly comfortable with cloud technologies, central IT teams are seeking to take a more significant role in cloud purchasing decisions. More than 62 percent of enterprise respondents report that a majority of cloud purchase decisions are made by central IT.

Cloud Computing Trends Central IT Taking on Most Cloud Purchases

The 2014 State of the Cloud Survey showed large discrepancies between the two groups, with business units generally seeing a more limited role for central IT. While central IT and business units in the enterprise still have different views about the role that central IT should play, this year 40 percent of business unit respondents agree that central IT should act as a broker of cloud services, more than double the 18 percent that agreed in 2014. While there are still significant differences of viewpoint, 40 percent of both groups are now unified in support for central IT acting as a cloud broker.

Cloud Computing Trends Central IT Emerges As Cloud Broker


DevOps Rises; Docker Soars

Since the advent of AWS in 2006, cloud and DevOps have become inextricably intertwined. For many organizations, the use of cloud infrastructure is a critical pillar to support the continuous integration and delivery cycles and release cycles that DevOps helps to drive.

The 2015 State of Cloud Survey results shows continued growth in DevOps adoption, up to 66 percent from 6 percent in 2014.

Cloud Computing Trends DevOps Adoption 2015

As DevOps has grown, the set of available tools has also expanded. DevOps teams are often leveraging automated configuration management tools — such as Chef, Puppet, Salt, and Ansible. In the last year, Docker, a container-based approach, has also stormed onto the scene as another way to deploy code assets on infrastructure. All of these tools are often used in conjunction with cloud management solutions that provision infrastructure across clouds.

With a significant head start, Chef (28 percent) and Puppet (24 percent) remain the most used DevOps tools overall. However, Docker, in just its first year on the market, is already being used by 13 percent of organizations. Even more impressively, more than a third (35 percent) of respondents report plans to use Docker.

Cloud Computing Trends DevOps Tools Use 2015


AWS Continues Its Public Cloud Domination, but Azure Makes Inroads

No surprise: AWS continues to lead overall in public cloud adoption, with 57 percent of respondents currently running applications in AWS, up from 54 percent in 2014. This continues to be more than 4x the adoption rate of the closest competitor. Azure IaaS has moved into the clear #2 position, doubling from 6 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in the 2015 survey.

Note: The numbers below represent the percentage of respondents adopting a cloud provider, but do not represent market share since they do not take into account the number of workloads in each cloud.


Cloud Computing Trends Public Cloud Usage 2015

Within the enterprise segment, the gap between AWS and Azure is smaller, with 19 percent using Azure IaaS and 50 percent using AWS.

Download the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report for the complete survey results, including a breakdown of the top public clouds used by enterprises and SMBs.


Private Cloud Stalls in 2015

The 2015 State of the Cloud Survey reveals only small changes in private cloud adoption from 2014.

VMware remains in the lead overall, with 33 percent of respondents using vSphere as a private cloud and 13 percent using vCloud Director. OpenStack also has 13 percent adoption, but continues to generate high levels of interest with 30 percent of respondents evaluating or planning to use. The most significant change was the entry of Microsoft Azure Pack to the market, with 7 percent of respondents already using it.

Cloud Computing Trends Private Cloud Usage YOY 2014 vs 2015

Summary: As Cloud Usage Grows, Central IT Becomes a Cloud Broker

The 2015 State of the Cloud Survey shows that cloud adoption is growing and most enterprises are leveraging multiple cloud environments that combine both public and private cloud options. As a result, central IT teams are stepping in to offer cloud infrastructure services to their organizations while ensuring governance and control over costs. This shift of cloud adoption from shadow IT to a strategic imperative is a critical step in the move to a cloud-centric future.  

Download the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report for the complete survey results.

All charts and data from this blog article and the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report can be used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report