Survey: Unix Users Embrace Private Clouds, Avoid Public Clouds

Gabriel Consulting Group found in a survey of Unix data center managers and workers that only 27 percent are using public clouds to augment their infrastructure, compared to 65 percent who are not using public clouds and 9 percent who are not sure, said Dan Olds, principle analyst and founder of the Beaverton, Ore.-based analyst firm.

However, Olds said, 50 percent of respondents said they are building their own private cloud infrastructure, compared to 35 percent who are not going the private cloud path and 15 percent who are not sure.

Cost is not a primary driver for commercial Unix users to adopt cloud technology, with only 44 percent citing cost reduction as their main interest, compared to 34 percent who said cost is important. However, Olds said, 50 percent cited the need to increase IT flexibility and speed as a primary driver, compared to 28 percent who said it is not a primary driver.

The survey included responses from 306 companies worldwide who depend on commercial Unix for their mission-critical applications. However, their responses reflected cloud plans for their overall infrastructures, and were not focused specifically on their Unix infrastructures, Olds said.

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Despite all the hype around cloud computing, Unix-heavy shops remain skeptical about the technology, Olds said.

But despite staying away from public clouds, they are building private clouds. "Ninety percent of the respondents say Unix is a strategic platform for them," Olds said. "Over half of commercial Unix customers say that 75 percent to 100 percent of their applications are mission-critical. So it makes sense that these folks are not going to be running off willy-nilly to public clouds."

There is no reason such a company could not have an AIX or HP-UX or Solaris public cloud, Olds said. "There may be some out there," he said. "But it hasn't risen to the level of demand that an Amazon would provide. And they have options. Their databases and ERP applications could run in a public cloud. But their availability and security requirements make it less of an option for them."

The fact that half of the surveyed companies have a private cloud engagement going on is not surprising, Olds said. "A private cloud is essentially a combination of good virtualization and good IT practices," he said. "It allows developers to see their resources in a pool. The technology to do that is already here."

Going forward, Olds said he expects commercial Unix users to focus on developing heterogeneous private clouds, or clouds which can work with their Unix, Windows, Linux, and even mainframe servers.

"When a user or developer needs a resource, they will have a choice, with one cloud mechanism able to provide any of the resources that are in the cloud," he said. "Private clouds are opening up some of those companies' siloed resources."