RightScale Blog

Cloud Management Blog
RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report
Cloud Management Blog

Cloud Computing Trends: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey

Cloud Computing Trends: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey

In January 2016, RightScale conducted its fifth annual State of the Cloud Survey of the latest cloud computing trends, with a focus on infrastructure-as-a-service. In 2016, the overarching theme is that hybrid cloud adoption is ramping as both cloud users and cloud providers mature.

This is the largest survey on the use of cloud infrastructure and is focused on actual cloud buyers and users, as opposed to cloud vendors. Their answers provide a comprehensive perspective on the state of the cloud today.

The survey asked 1,060 IT professionals about their adoption of cloud infrastructure and related technologies. 42 percent of the respondents represented enterprises with more than 1,000 employees. The margin of error is 3.07 percent.

We highlight several key findings from the survey in this blog post. For the complete survey results, download the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report.

Hybrid Cloud Adoption Grew Significantly

  • Private cloud adoption increased from 63 percent to 77 percent, driving hybrid cloud adoption up from 58 percent to 71 percent year-over-year.

Cloud Users Leverage 6 Clouds on Average

  • Cloud users are running applications in an average of 1.5 public clouds and 1.7 private clouds. They are experimenting with an additional 1.5 public clouds and 1.3 private clouds.

More Enterprise Workloads Shift to Cloud, Especially Private Cloud

  • 17 percent of enterprises now have more than 1,000 VMs in public cloud, up from 13 percent in 2015.
  • Private cloud showed even stronger growth with 31 percent of enterprises running more than 1,000 VMs, up from 22 percent in 2015.

Security Is No Longer the Top Cloud Challenge

  • Lack of resources/expertise is now the #1 cloud challenge (cited by 32 percent), supplanting security (cited by 29 percent).

Cloud Cost Challenges Increase, but Optimization Efforts Lag

  • 26 percent of respondents identify cloud cost management as a significant challenge, a steady increase each year from 18 percent in 2013.
  • Cloud cost management provides a significant opportunity for savings, since few companies are taking critical actions to optimize cloud costs, such as shutting down unused workloads or selecting lower-cost cloud or regions.

DevOps Grows and Docker Spreads Like Wildfire, Especially in the Enterprise

  • Overall DevOps adoption rises from 66 to 74 percent, with enterprises reaching 81 percent.
  • Overall Docker adoption more than doubles to 27 percent vs. 13 percent in 2015; and another 35 percent have plans to use Docker.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Continues to Lead in Public Cloud Adoption, but Azure (Iaas and PaaS) Gain Ground

  • Overall, AWS is used by 57 percent of respondents, flat from last year. Enterprise adoption of AWS grew from 50 percent to 56 percent while adoption by smaller businesses fell slightly from 61 percent to 58 percent.
  • Azure IaaS grows strongly from 12 percent to 17 percent adoption, while Azure PaaS grows from 9 percent to 13 percent.

Private Cloud Adoption Grows Across All Providers 

  • VMware vSphere continues to lead with strong year-over-year growth. 44 percent of all respondents report they use it as a private cloud.
  • OpenStack and VMware vCloud Suite both show strong growth and remain tied at 19 percent adoption overall.

Cloud Computing Trends: Key Findings

Significant Growth in Hybrid Cloud Adoption

In the twelve months since the last State of the Cloud Survey, we’ve seen strong growth in hybrid cloud adoption as public cloud users added private cloud resource pools. 77 percent of respondents are now adopting private cloud up from 63 percent last year. As a result, use of hybrid cloud environments has grown to 71 percent. In total, 95 percent of respondents are now using cloud up from 93 percent in 2015.  

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Hybrid Cloud Use

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Cloud Adoption

Cloud Users Leverage 6 Clouds on Average — 3 Public and 3 Private

Companies using cloud are leveraging 3 public clouds and 3 private clouds. On average, they are running applications on 1.5 public clouds and experimenting with an additional 1.5 public clouds. They are also running applications on 1.7 private clouds and experimenting with an additional 1.3 private clouds.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 How Many Clouds Used

More Enterprise Workloads Shift to Cloud, Especially Private Cloud

More enterprise workloads moved to both public and private cloud over the last year, with private cloud growing faster. The number of enterprises running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in public cloud increased from 13 percent to 17 percent, while those running more than 1,000 VMs in private cloud grew from 22 percent to 31 percent. The private cloud growth in workloads also may include long-standing virtualized environments that have been enhanced and relabeled as a private cloud.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Enterprise VMs Use

Lack of Resources/Expertise Supplants Security As the Top Cloud Challenge

Since the 2013 State of the Cloud Report, security has been cited as the top challenge in cloud. Lack of resources/expertise increased from 27 percent last year to 32 percent this year to supplant security as the largest concern. As more organizations are placing more workloads in the cloud, the need for expertise has grown. Additional training of IT and development staff will be critical to helping address this challenge.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Cloud Challenges

Cloud Cost Challenges Increase, but Optimization Efforts Lag

26 percent of respondents identify cloud cost management as a significant challenge in 2016, a steady increase each year from 18 percent in 2013.

Improving cloud cost management provides a significant opportunity for savings, since few companies are taking critical actions to optimize cloud costs, such as shutting down unused workloads or selecting lower-cost cloud or regions. The most common optimization action is monitoring utilization and rightsizing instances (45 percent of enterprises and SMBs). 36 percent of SMBs are purchasing AWS Reserved Instances (RIs) to save money, but only 21 percent are tracking purchased RIs to make sure that they are being fully utilized. When purchased RIs are not fully used, the savings decline, and the RI can even end up costing more than on-demand instances.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Optimize Cloud Costs

DevOps Grows and Docker Spreads Like Wildfire, Especially in the Enterprise

The twin trends of DevOps and cloud adoption are closely linked. As companies seek to drive digital business by delivering new software applications and features more quickly, they look to both DevOps and cloud as key enablers. DevOps is now being adopted by 74 percent of organizations, up from 66 percent in 2015.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 DevOps Adoption

As part of adopting DevOps processes, many companies choose to implement configuration management tools that allow them to standardize and automate deployment and configuration of servers and applications. In the last two years, companies have also begun to embrace container technologies, such as Docker, to help them standardize and streamline the way they package and deploy code.

Docker has shown phenomenal growth year-over-year, with more than double the number of respondents using it (from 13 to 27 percent). Ansible also doubled (10 to 20 percent), Puppet showed strong growth (24 to 32 percent), and Chef grew as well (28 to 32 percent).

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Popular DevOps Tools

For a deep-dive analysis of DevOps trends, see New DevOps Trends: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey.

Public Cloud Adoption Expands Across Clouds and Private Gains Steam

2015 was a big year for major public cloud providers and private cloud technologies. Cloud providers continued to add services, costs continued to drop, and overall adoption cloud increased.

We asked respondents to tell us which clouds they were using and whether they were running applications in the cloud, experimenting with the cloud, planning to use the cloud, or had no plans to use the cloud. Most respondents are using more than one cloud so totals will add up to more than 100 percent. These results indicate whether a respondent is using any cloud but do not specify the number of applications that are running in each cloud.

AWS Still Leads in Public Cloud; Azure Gains Ground

As expected, AWS continues to lead in public cloud adoption, with 57 percent of respondents currently running applications in this cloud. The percentage of respondents running applications in AWS was flat this year although, per reports from Amazon, the number of workloads in AWS (and hence the revenue) is increasing. Azure IaaS and PaaS both showed increased adoption, narrowing the gap with AWS. Due to its strategy change to only managed cloud services, Rackspace was not included in this year’s survey. DigitalOcean (5 percent) and Oracle Cloud (4 percent) were added to the survey for the first time this year.

Comparing this year’s data with last, we see that the percentage of respondents using AWS remained flat. Azure IaaS and Azure PaaS made the largest gains, helping to shrink the gap with AWS. VMware vCloud Air and IBM SoftLayer both showed small increases (up 2 percent), which are within the margin of error.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Public Cloud Adoption

Private Cloud Adoption Grows Across All Providers

The 2016 State of the Cloud Survey reveals that adoption of private cloud is growing across all providers.  

Across all sizes of organizations, 44 percent percent of respondents leverage vSphere environments as private clouds. OpenStack and VMware vCloud Suite tied for second at 19 percent. In its first year on the survey, bare-metal clouds are being used by 15 percent of respondents. 29 percent of respondents are experimenting with or planning to use OpenStack, and 27 percent are planning to use Microsoft Azure Pack.

In comparison to last year, there were noticeable increases in adoption rates of every private cloud technology. VMware vSphere/vCenter went up eleven percent (33 to 44 percent). OpenStack and VMware vCloud Suite both increased six percent (13 to 19 percent).

Cloud Computing Trends 2016 Private Cloud Adoption

Summary: Hybrid Cloud Adoption Hits Its Stride

The 2016 State of the Cloud Survey shows that cloud adoption is growing and hybrid cloud adoption has now hit its stride. The strong growth in the use of private cloud, combined with the ubiquity of public cloud means that a super-majority of organizations are now operating in a hybrid environment.

With increasing maturity of both cloud users and cloud providers, we are seeing a reduction in concerns about cloud security, but IT organizations are challenged by a shortage of trained resources that they will need to fuel this growth. As adoption grows, cloud bills and cost concerns are also growing, but most organizations are doing little to implement cost management and optimization strategies. This represents an opportunity to reduce costs and further improve cloud ROI.

The use of DevOps practices and tools continues to increase. Configuration management tools from Ansible, Puppet, and Chef are growing, while Docker is spreading like wildfire.

Among public cloud providers, AWS maintains its lead, but Azure continues to make inroads in the percentage of respondents running applications as well as those who have plans to use it.

All private cloud technologies saw growth in the 2016 survey, with VMware vSphere maintaining its lead and  OpenStack and Microsoft generating strong interest. Bare-metal cloud is coming onto the scene as well.

Download the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report for the complete survey results.

Use of Charts and Data In This Report

We encourage the re-use of data, charts, and text published in this report under the terms of this Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You are free to share and make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report as stipulated in the terms of the license.

Cloud Computing Trends 2016: State of the Cloud Report