Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Monday, December 10, 2018
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Azure, Kubernetes Benefit from Hybrid Cloud Shift 

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One in four companies in a new vendor survey said they rely on multiple cloud providers, twice as many as two years ago, with Microsoft Azure benefitting the most from the steady shift to hybrid cloud deployments.

That shift also is reflected the enterprise embrace of application containers and microservices that can run alongside so-called “monolithic” apps such data services and analytics workloads, according to a survey of companies running those services on the Mesosphere, the “datacenter operating system” distribution of Apache Mesos.

The user survey released by Mesosphere on Tuesday (Sept. 25) found that Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT) has registered 85 percent growth in the last year as more customers shift to hybrid cloud to avoid vendor lock-in while boosting cloud availability and security. Google Cloud (NASDAQ: GOOGL) ranked second, growing a 40-percent clip over the last year.

The survey also confirmed growth in users running containers in production on Mesosphere, growing 12 percent year-on-year to 84 percent. That growth was driven primarily by brisk microservices adoption, along with monolithic applications like analytics and other big data services.

The main drivers for implementing Kubernetes on the Mesosphere and other microservices platforms were automation of daily operations, easier upgrades and co-location with other data services and analytics workloads. “This is especially critical for companies who need to operate multiple Kubernetes clusters,” Mesosphere reported.

The latest version of the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator is scheduled to be released on Sept. 27.

Ben Hindman, Mesosphere’s co-founder, also noted that Kubernetes allows “fine-grained resource sharing” between the cluster orchestrator and data services.

Those tools have helped accelerate the shift to hybrid cloud deployments. While most industry sectors are sticking with on-premise infrastructure, including 38 percent of those companies polled by Mesosphere, the retail and e-commerce sectors are spearheading the shift to hybrid clouds. And the desire to avoid vendor lock-in is benefitting Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud as growth at dominant Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) remains flat. About one-quarter of Mesosphere users said they are using Azure, up from 13 percent two years ago.

While Kubernetes emerges a de facto industry standard for orchestrating microservices in production, the survey also highlighted the growing popularity of big data services such as Kafka and Cassandra along with machine learning frameworks like Spark and TensorFlow. Mesosphere reported that about 68 percent of those polled are running at least one of these big data services.

Despite the head-long rush to the cloud, new data privacy regulations are starting to put the brakes on some cloud deployments. For instance, the Mesosphere survey found that the advertising and marketing sectors are moving away from cloud-only deployments in response to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation that took effect in May.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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