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Ongoing Quest for Viable OpenStack Business Models

IT infrastructure vendors are hopeful that, one day, their investment in the support of OpenStack is proven worthwhile. According to the latest worldwide market study by 451 Research, revenue from OpenStack business models are forecast to exceed $5 billion by 2020 and grow at a 35 percent CAGR.

So far, OpenStack revenue has come from cloud service providers offering multi-tenant IaaS, but the latest research indicates that private cloud revenue will exceed public cloud by 2019. Meanwhile, even though it's true that OpenStack has experienced new growth, the vendor revenue contribution is relatively small.

That being said, based on their latest analysis, 451 Research believes that OpenStack profitability will likely be achieved in the private cloud space, and in providing the hybrid orchestration for public cloud integration with on-premises or hosted OpenStack environments.

OpenStack Use Case Development

"This year OpenStack has become a top priority and credible cloud option, but it still has its shortcomings," said Al Sadowski, research vice president at 451 Research. "We continue to believe the market is still in the early stages of enterprise use and revenue generation."

451 Research analysts expect an uptick in revenues from all sectors and geographic regions, especially from those companies in the OpenStack Products and Distributions category that are actively targeting enterprises.

Today, there are examples of organizations across most vertical sectors running commercial workloads on OpenStack, but in general it remains a platform for test and development environments, web hosting and preliminary proof-of-concept pilot projects.

451 Research predicts a growing number of OpenStack use cases across software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) by both service providers and enterprises.

These new applications are in addition to traditional OpenStack use cases in big data, DevOps and PaaS. Moreover, while container software is viewed as mostly beneficial and complementary to OpenStack, ongoing Linux container adoption could easily eclipse OpenStack. That's a huge concern for some vendors.

Outlook for Cloud Computing Adoption

OpenStack mind-share continues to grow for enterprises interested in deploying cloud-native applications in greenfield private cloud environments. However, its appeal is limited for legacy applications and for those enterprises already comfortable using hyperscale public cloud service providers.

There are several marquee enterprises with OpenStack as the central component of cloud transformations, but many enterprises are still concerned -- for valid reasons -- of the perceived complexity associated with configuring, deploying and maintaining OpenStack-based architectures.

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