Survey: Open Standards and Open Source Are Welcome in the Cloud

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 05, 2012

A new white paper from researchers at IDC (sponsored by The Linux Foundation) notes that the door is wide open for open standards and open source in cloud computing. The paper, titled "Open Source Cloud System Software," is based on responses from nearly 300 IT users working at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The Linux Foundation had previously released a subset of the findings. Here are the details.

According to The Linux Foundation's Amanda McPherson, four major points emerged from the survey results:

* Windows and Linux users alike insist on collaborative development for the cloud. Ninety-four percent of respondents (of which there were both Windows and Linux users) said collaboration and a vibrant open source ecosystem are important for cloud adoption.

* Linux and open source software are dominant in the cloud due to cost, customization, full transparency and the collaborative development model. The white paper report elaborates on these factors, which distinctly illustrate what users have come to expect in their software.

* Users are defining what an open cloud means to them. The rise of Linux and open source gave power to users like never before and now they're the ones defining what really is the open cloud. IT users tell IDC they define an open cloud by the ability to port and access data; the option to run the cloud platform on premise; and a community that allows them to participate in the technology. Users also state that supporting open APIs and running on Linux are among the top five characteristics of an open cloud.

The IDC white paper elaborates on the community aspect by explaining the importance for users for technology sustainability and longevity. The collaborative development model, as evidenced by Linux, provides long-term, stable support and an accelerated rate of development. It's also extremely effective during the early stages of a technology’s evolution, reducing hardware and software compatibility issues and delivering broad functionality.

* Eighty-six percent of respondents said they will either increase or maintain their current spending on linux and open source software in support of private cloud in the next 12 months. Specifically, forty-seven percent said they would add more Linux and open source during that period.

The survey's findings line up with other recently reported data showing that there is much interest in open standards and open source in the cloud, but not necessarily immediate adoption. Citrix, for example, recently noted that some open source cloud platforms are getting major PR wins, but not being adopted. 

The real proving ground for open source and open standards in the cloud will be adoption. If IDC's findings point toward the future, we will see much open source cloud adoption in the coming year.