OpenStack Revenues Approaching $3.4B: 451 Research

New research released at the OpenStack Summit shows both opportunities and challenges and offers projections for robust growth for the cloud technology.

OpenStack revenue

AUSTIN, Texas — When it comes to the OpenStack cloud, one of many things that are hard to get a handle on is the size of the market in terms of financial metrics. That's a challenge Al Sadowski, research director at 451 Research, has taken on and, during a session here at the OpenStack Summit, provided some forecasts on the size of the OpenStack market.

This isn't the first time Sadowski has attempted to provide a market size data for OpenStack. In 2013, 451 Group reported OpenStack ecosystem revenues were about $486 million. At the time, revenues were forecast to top $1 billion by 2015.

451 Group now reports 2015 OpenStack ecosystem revenue at $1.2 billion and forecasts it will grow to $3.37 billion by 2018. From 2014 to 2018, 451 Group has forecast a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent.

There are a number reasons for the growth, including the simple fact that the majority of organizations are not yet embracing the private cloud. Sadowski noted that in a 451 Group study, only 17 percent of respondents said that they were currently evolving their internal infrastructure to a private-cloud model.

The research company also asked organizations their top pain points regarding the cloud. Security was the No. 1 pain point, with 55 percent of respondents indicating it had a significant impact on adoption.

When it comes to budgeting, 70 percent of organizations are allocating most of their cloud budgets on items other than infrastructure services. That's according to a 451 Group study commissioned by Microsoft.

From a public-versus-private cloud perspective, though there are some public clouds powered by OpenStack, Sadowski stated that the framework's future is not in the public cloud; rather, it will be in private clouds.

"The days are over when someone says they will compete with Amazon. It's just not going to happen," Sadowski said.

In looking at the evolution of OpenStack since its creation in 2010, Sadowski believes OpenStack's success over its rivals in large part is due to the creation of the OpenStack Foundation in 2012 as a separate entity with multi-stakeholder governance. Prior to the formation of the OpenStack Foundation, Rackspace handled much of the governance.

The decision to turn over OpenStack to a foundation in 2012 stands in contrast to the CloudStack platform and its parent, Citrix. Citrix donated CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation, but it was never set up with the same true, multi-stakeholder, stand-alone foundation as OpenStack's.

"If Citrix would have done a foundation around CloudStack, we would now be at a Cloudstack Summit, not OpenStack Summit," Sadowski said.

In addition to the creation of the foundation, adoption of OpenStack by big-name vendors, including eBay, Best Buy, AT&T and Walmart, among others, has helped fuel its growth. Accordingly, nearly every major big vendor in the IT market—except for Microsoft— is now a member of the OpenStack Foundation.

"The OpenStack Foundation's financial supporters are its best marketing tool," Sadowski said. "Major IT vendors see their competitors join, so they want to be involved, too."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.