PaaS, containers, and serverless all surging as companies take a multi-platform approach- Cloud Foundry report

Cloud Foundry just released the results of a survey of more than 600 IT Decision Makers showing accelerated interest and use of multiple cloud-native technologies, with 39% of respondents deploying a combination of platform-as-a-service (PaaS), containers and serverless computing. The report refers to this as a “multi-platform approach.”

By choosing a multi-platform approach, companies are hedging their bets and looking to future-proof their technology choices.  According to the report:

“In this multi-platform world, it should come as no surprise that, as they become more agile in the usage of these tools, IT Decision Makers are searching for a suite of technologies to function interoperably. They want technologies that integrate with their current environments in order to address their needs today—but that are flexible enough to address their needs in the future.

By choosing platforms offering maximum flexibility and easy integration, IT Decision Makers can be confident that whatever technology or culture change comes next—whether serverless, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)— they will seamlessly integrate new innovations and deliver maximum developer productivity.”

To see the details of the report, download your own copy here.  Otherwise, here are the top 5 highlights from the report with my take.

1. Multi-platform equal maximum flexibility

Companies are tired of being locked into technologies that don’t easily integrate or offer them the flexibility to address unforeseen future needs. They want interoperability and the ability to pivot as needed.  Therefore, companies are evaluating multiple cloud technologies, with the research showing 77% of respondents using PaaS, 72% containers, 46% using serverless, and as mentioned, 39% of respondents indicating their organizations are using all three.

2. Companies are building new apps and refactoring at the same time

Companies doing a mix increased 9% from their 2017 survey, from 48% to 57%. Organizations focused primarily on refactoring legacy applications fell to 13% (down from 24% in 2017).

This indicates that companies realize to stay relevant they need to focus on innovating with new digital offerings while also continuing to support and modernize their core offerings.

Deciding when and what to refactor vs. build new can be tricky.  Dynatrace offers a guide for helping make decisions about what to refactor, and my colleagues Johannes Bräuer and Jürgen Etzlstorfer are creating a blog series Fearless Monolith to Microservices Migration – A guided journey with specific examples for Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Red Hat OpenShift.

3. Containers have “crossed the chasm”

Crossing the chasm was made famous by the said named book by Geoffrey Moore Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers and is indicated by when a technology moves from the “Early Adopters” to the “Early Majority”.

72% of the respondents said their companies were using or evaluating containers, an increase of 5% since late 2017.

I believe the addition of Kubernetes in late 2017 by most of the major cloud providers has helped containers cross the chasm. For more details here is a blog post I wrote about Kubernetes in January.

4. Serverless comes into focus

The interest in serverless computing has seen a sharp rise, with 46% IT Decision Makers using and evaluating it. Also, evaluation has increased to 35% of respondents vs 25% a year earlier.  According to the report, this is a similar pattern seen by containers and may be an indicator of future use:

“The level of interest in evaluating serverless computing is comparable to where evaluation stood for containers in early 2016. Our tracking data of containers suggests a drop in “not using” is a leading indicator for crossing the chasm, as non-users first become evaluators and then users. It stands to reason that the same pattern will manifest itself with serverless.”

If you are evaluating serverless, my colleague Andi Grabner has a great blog post titled Fearless from Monolith to Serverless with Dynatrace that discusses the challenges companies will face in this transformation.

5. PaaS adoption accelerates

PaaS adoption in production has increased (from 31% in 2017 to 47% in 2018) and is seeing broad deployment as more companies see results, including financial savings, with 62% of respondents saying their companies have saved over $100,000 by using PaaS.

Source: Cloud Foundry

PaaS has given established enterprises a jumpstart in their digital transformation efforts, and we see many of our customers evaluating and adopting them, so the significant increase isn’t a surprise. Given the need for enterprises to accelerate these transformation efforts and fight back against their Silicon Valley foes, I believe this trend in adoption will continue and PaaS footprints within the enterprise will increase significantly for the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

These are exciting times for IT and a paradigm shift in technology that many of us may never see again in our lifetimes.  One thing is for sure, there is no going back to the “old” ways of IT, and this report indicates that.  Interoperability and flexibility are the new standards that all companies will require moving forward.

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