Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, January 16, 2021
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Ubuntu Users See Private, Hybrid Cloud Expansion 

Canonical, the company behind the open source cross-platform operating system Ubuntu, released its annual cloud and server survey this week that seeks to cast more light on the makeup of cloud infrastructure, how it is managed, and what is driving cloud adoption.

Canonical said it surveyed 3,100 customers, most of whom are Ubuntu server and cloud users, about the makeup of their cloud infrastructure and how it is being used.

The Ubuntu survey echoes other studies concluding that cloud users are increasing shifting from development and testing to production workloads. That trend emerged last year when respondents said they were deploying more production workloads to the cloud.

The survey found that more than three-quarters of respondents are deploying workloads to the cloud compared to 64 percent the previous year.

That trend was continuing over the last year, the Ubuntu survey found, with 35 percent of respondents favoring private cloud deployments. Of those, 53 percent used OpenStack as a private cloud platform.

Indeed, OpenStack is emerging as the leading cloud management platform. More than 64 percent of respondents said OpenStack is "ready for mission-critical workloads."

Among those rolling out private clouds, the survey found that nearly half are deploying infrastructure plus virtualized environments. Asked what type of cloud infrastructure they expect to build over the next year, more than half of respondents (51.9 percent) said private while 40 percent said hybrid.

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The move to hybrid cloud deployments continues to grow, Ubuntu reported, up to 20 percent last year as public cloud deployments dropped to 23 percent of respondents. The survey noted that the ongoing price wars among public cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure "don’t seem to have had a major impact on public cloud adoption, which could imply that the drivers behind the choice of infrastructure are more than economic."

Indeed, others have noted that considerations like cloud and datacenter availability often trump cost savings.

Among public cloud providers, Ubuntu customers said they favored Google Cloud Platform (30 percent), Amazon EC2 (21 percent), and Microsoft Azure (a distant 7 percent). Thirty-four percent of respondents listed "other" cloud providers.

Ubuntu claims it server and cloud customers represent a majority of public cloud users and are the largest group of OpenStack users.

The survey also uncovered additional evidence that the ballyhooed Internet of Things is indeed driving cloud adoption, with one-third of respondents citing IoT as primary driver of cloud adoption. Hyperscaling, a consequence of data growth, along with a shift to software-defined datacenters (both 26 percent) were also cited as primary drivers of cloud adoption.

The biggest hurdles to cloud adoption were security and data privacy (34.5 percent), cost (26.1 percent) and complexity (22.4 percent), the survey found. Security concerns are growing as the number of connected devices is forecast to grow to more than 25 billion by the end of the decade. Hence, 60 percent of respondents cited cloud security and data privacy controls are needed to support the IoT.

Docker and other application container technologies are now part of the cloud deployment discussion, but the Ubuntu survey reinforces others who have noted that Docker is not yet ready for prime time. "Docker is still in the very early adoption phases for production environments [and] is being used mostly for databases and development and testing," Canonical's Ubuntu survey concludes.

Another emerging application for deployment using Docker is big data and data analytics, respondents said.

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