RightScale State of the Cloud 2019: Azure gains again, cost optimisation key, PaaS explodes

Microsoft Azure continues to eat into Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) dominance in the enterprise market, while managing cloud spend and governance continues to be the primary concern, according to the 2019 RightScale State of the Cloud report.

The study, a yearly benchmark assessing cloud adoption and which polled almost 800 executives with a relatively even spread between enterprise and SMB respondents, found cloud cost management was the primary concern for the third consecutive year. For the enterprise sector, optimising costs (84% this year, 80% in 2018) and governance (84% this year, 77% in 2018) are notably on the rise.

The study noted how organisations may be wasting more than even they expect on their services – hence the need for optimisation. Survey respondents estimated they wasted 27% of their uptake this year, yet Flexera – which bought RightScale last year – assesses it to be nearer 35%.

It’s fair to say that using the biggest cloud vendors can be a complex experience with the sheer number of features available. Yet organisations are not helping themselves, with only a handful of companies polled using automated policies to shut down unused workloads, or rightsizing instances. Indeed, less than half (47%) of AWS users are aware of and utilise AWS Reserved Instances, while Azure’s Reserved Instances (23%) pales further into insignificance.

Exploring the cloud behemoths (above), Azure adoption grew from 45% to 52% year on year overall, with Azure’s adoption figures now looking at 85% of AWS’ – up from 70% the year before. For enterprise-specific figures, Azure has risen to 60% while AWS remains flat at 67%. Google remains clear in third position. VMware on AWS Cloud saw growth of 50% across the board, while all other providers surveyed – including Oracle, IBM and Alibaba – saw enterprise gains.

One of the key areas where organisations are becoming increasingly comfortable is emerging platforms. Gartner has already noted this week how the industry is almost at the tipping point where platform as a service (PaaS) offerings will become cloud-dominated, and this is reflected in the RightScale report. Serverless saw a 50% growth year on year, with 36% of overall respondents using it, while machine learning, containers-as-a-service, and IoT are also quick to grow.

Containers, meanwhile – and Kubernetes in particular – are seeing particularly strong adoption rates. 57% of respondents say they regularly use Docker, while Kubernetes has 48% adoption among respondents, up almost double from the previous year (27%). For enterprises, Docker (66%) and Kubernetes (60%) are even further entrenched. Of the big cloud offerings, only Azure Container Service saw noticeably greater adoption, with AWS (44%) ahead of Azure (28%) and Google (15%).

As previously the overriding theme, with so many sectors to cover, is one of hybrid IT and multi-cloud (below); making the most out of your stack and finding the correct avenues for particular workloads. If anything, the release of AWS Outposts – with the nod to VMware’s rise already seen in the report – helped truly legitimise, and normalise, this thinking. The report noted how private cloud growth was there, if a little slow; 12% of those polled are already using Outposts out of the gate with a further 29% interested in the future. VMware vSphere, at a flat 50%, remains the primary tool.

Ultimately, these figures should make for solid reading across the industry. Yet Flexera and RightScale will perhaps be keener than most. As this publication put it when the acquisition was announced in October, the two companies’ proposed marriage, around Flexera’s IT and software asset management (SAM) portfolio, and RightScale’s cloud complexity problem solving, should be a happy one.

“The data is consistent with what we are hearing from our C-level customers: managing the rapid increase in cloud use requires new capabilities for cost optimisation and IT governance,” said Jim Ryan, CEO of Flexera. “With multi-cloud as the strategy of choice, most enterprises are already spending over $1m a year in public cloud. As a result, optimising costs is the top cloud priority for the third year in a row, and governance is the top challenge.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

Picture credits: RightScale, used under CC BY

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