The necessity of embracing multi- or hybrid-cloud strategies at the enterprise level could prove a breakthrough point for Openstack according to the Cloud Price Index report from 451 research.
"There's not going to be any easy answer to what cloud model is the best for every use," says Dr Owen Rogers, research director of the digital economics unit at 451 Research. "The results suggest to me that end users need to determine which cloud is best for that workload's needs - as a result, they're probably going to have a bunch of cloud models, at least in the foreseeable future, if they want to make sure they're getting best value across all their IT estate."
A finding from the report that's worth paying particular attention to is that it might be in the best interest of large enterprises, at certain scales, to run commercial private clouds.
According to the report, operating private clouds offers a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) when labour efficiency is at less than 400 virtual machines managed per engineer. When this scales up higher, the slowly-maturing open source Openstack platform proves more affordable.
"I don't think this is bad news at all for Openstack - essentially it means there is a time when Openstack is better value than the other options," Rogers tells Computerworld UK. "You would assume things will only get better, as Openstack becomes more mature - and there are better tools to manage them - I think the distributions already have a strong proposition against using the Openstack source."
Of course, there are considerations about adopting Openstack that any business will have to take before making a commitment. "Most people who work with Openstack are realistic and aware of the challenges," Rogers says. "There's a limited amount of field resources out there to build and manage Openstack. Because of that it is commonly at scale when Openstack is better value, whereas if you look at something like VMware or Microsoft, there are millions of engineers out there in the market who are used to it and who have experience. Openstack is far away from it at the moment."
"But then again, the Foundation does now have a range of certifications - I imagine this will mean people get more qualified and there will be more Openstack engineers in the market. Theoretically this could change the break-even point, at which Openstack is better value than the commercial platforms."
Generally there are other considerations with adopting a multicloud or hybrid cloud strategy at all. Often, new customers will cite the simplicity of operational management as a principle reason for going with any particular vendor offering, and there is a convincing argument that hybrid and multicloud is a step away from that.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.