Why Open Source Cloud Computing Has Become So Popular So Quickly

Picture of Rick DelgadoRick Delgado feels blessed to have had a successful career in the tech industry and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of writing. He's started doing freelance writing where he occasionally works with tech companies like Dell Computers. He enjoys writing about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.

The increasing popularity of cloud computing has been impressive to watch unfold over the past couple of years. Many businesses have signed up to the idea of using third parties to handle workloads, giving them more time to innovate and focus on the business operations that require their attention the most. It’s a cost-effective strategy that pays dividends in the long run, so it should come as no surprise why the cloud has become such a phenomenon. But that’s not the only cloud-related thing that’s seen a meteoric rise in the business world: Open source cloud computing has staked its claim as a marvel of its own making. While cloud computing in general has made enormous leaps among enterprises, the open source cloud can boast similar claims. It may not have the same success scale-wise, but its growth is without question just as remarkable, especially considering how quickly it has all happened.

Large open source cloud projects

To truly view the growth of open source cloud computing, one must only look at the largest open source cloud projects currently out there. OpenStack is usually the one people think of first and for good reason. The open source technology offered by OpenStack has increased in popularity in the short amount of time it has been in existence - five years to be precise. Though five years may not seem like that much time, it’s almost ancient compared to some of the other top open source cloud technologies. Take Docker, for example. Docker is now viewed by some experts (depending on the criteria) as the second most popular open source cloud project in the world. Even more impressive is the fact that Docker only started in 2013. Move ahead a couple years later and it’s already battling OpenStack for the top spot. Other open source cloud technologies like Cloud Foundry and Apache Mesos have also risen rapidly in just a few short years.

Why is it such a must have?

So the open source cloud has gained a lot of fans in a short timeframe, but what is it about the technology that has made it so high on the must-have list for organizations? Obviously, the hype surrounding open source has played a role, but the hype has to come from somewhere and have a solid basis for it to sustain its momentum. Part of the drive behind open source cloud computing’s popularity is the numerous large companies adopting it. At least 11 Fortune 100 companies have adopted OpenStack for a variety of reasons, from production use cases to building products and services. Those companies include such corporate giants like Best Buy, Comcast, Disney, and even Walmart.

In fact, Walmart’s use of open source cloud technology is instructive as to why so many businesses are interested in using it too. The open source cloud provides organizations with a lot more flexibility and scalability, a particularly valuable attribute when website traffic, for example, ebbs and flows over the year. There’s also the added freedom of running your own developed cloud. No longer does a company have to be dependent on a cloud vendor just to get the desired cloud benefits. Companies can instead develop their own interfaces that address their individual needs and concerns, creating a much more dynamic tool for the entire business to use.

The Competitive Edge

Many organizations see open source cloud technology as a way to prevent becoming locked in to vendor contracts. At the same time, it can also avoid costly licensing fees, freeing up organizations’ resources. Other added benefits include an overall reduction in cost to constructing and operating cloud infrastructure while also giving companies the ability to deploy their new applications and solutions more quickly, thus allowing them to benefit from their advantages at a faster pace. This increases their competitive advantages in significant ways.

It’s just the beginning

Due to the benefits seen from the technology, combined with the rapid adoption of large companies, the open source cloud is a case of extreme popularity really taking off in just a few years. As more companies become familiar with the advantages of cloud computing and the technology surrounding it, they’ll likely feel more comfortable going with an open source solution. So far, we may only be seeing the start of a much larger movement.