There’s a few stories out about Canonical, likely centered around some PR campaign that they’re seeking to IPO at some time, shifting the company around appropriately. Here’s some highlights from the recent spate of news around Canonical.
Testing the Red Hat Theory, competing for the cloud-native stack
Why care? Aside from Canonical just being interesting – they’ve been first and/or early to many cloud technologies and containers – there’d finally be another Red Hat if they were public.
Most of the open source thought-lords agree that “there can never be another Red Hat,” so, we’ll see if the Ubuntu folks can pull it off. Or, at the very least, how an pure open source company wangles it out otherwise.
That said, SUSE (part of HPE/Micro Focus) has built an interesting business around Linux, OpenStack, and related stuff. Ever since disentangling from Novell, SUSE has had impressive growth (usually something around 20 and 25% a year in revenue). All is which to, the Red Hat model actually is being used successfully by SUSE, which, arguably, just suffered from negative synergies (or, for those who don’t like big words, “shit the bed”) when it was owned by Novell.
As I’m perhaps too fond of contextualizing, it’s also good to remember that Red Hat is still “just” a $2.5bn company, by revenue. Revenue was $1.5bn in 2014, so, still, very impressive growth; but, that’s been a long, 24 year journey.
All these “Linux vendors,”like pretty much everyone else in the infrastructure software market, are battling for control over the new platform, that stack of cloud-y software that is defining “cloud-native,” using containers, and trying to enable the process/mindset/culture of DevOps. This is all in response to responding to enterprises’ growing desire to be more strategic with IT.
Shuttleworth said “in the last year, Ubuntu cloud growth had been 70 percent on the private cloud and 90 percent on the public cloud.” In particular, “Ubuntu has been gaining more customers on the big five public clouds.”
Its OpenStack cloud division has been profitable, said Shuttleworth, since 2015
Al Sadowski has an extensive report on Canonical, mentioning:
[Canonical] now has more than 700 paying customers and sees a $1bn business for its OS, applications and IT operations software. Time will tell if this goal is realized.
Canonical claims some 700 customers paying for its support services on top of Ubuntu and other offerings (double the 350 it had three years ago), and to have achieved more than $100m in bookings in its last financial year…. [Overall, it’s] not yet a profitable business (although its Ubuntu unit is). We estimate GAAP revenue of about $95m.
On focusing the portfolio, shoring it up for better finances for an IPO:
we had to cut out those parts that couldn’t meet an investors’ needs. The immediate work is get all parts of the company profitable.
To that end, as Alexander J. Martin reports:
More than 80 workers at Ubuntu-maker Canonical are facing the chop as founder Mark Shuttleworth takes back the role of chief executive officer…. 31 or more staffers have already left the Linux distro biz ahead of Shuttleworth’s rise, with at least 26 others now on formal notice and uncertainty surrounding the remainder
Back to Al on the Job to Be done, building and supporting those new cloud-native platforms:
Rather than offering ways to support legacy applications, the company has placed bets on its Ubuntu operating system for cloud-native applications, OpenStack IaaS for infrastructure management, and Docker and Kubernetes container software.
And, it seems to be working:
Supporting public cloud providers has been a success story for Canonical – year-over-year revenue grew 91% in this area…. Per Canonical, 70% of the guest OS images on AWS and 80% of the Linux images on Microsoft Azure are Ubuntu. Its bare-metal offering, MaaS (Metal as a Service), is now used on 80,000 physical servers.
On OpenStack in particular:
Canonical claims to be building 4,000 OpenStack deployments a month at some 180 vendors…. It claims multiple seven-figure deals (through partners) for its BootStrap managed OpenStack-as-a-service offering, and that the average deal size for OpenStack is trending upward.
The Vaughan-Nichols piece outlines Shuttleworth’s IPO plans:
Still, there is “no timeline for the IPO.” First, Shuttleworth wants all parts of the slimmed down Canonical to be profitable. Then “we will take a round of investment.” After that, Canonical will go public.
However, Al’s report says:
It is not seeking additional funding at this time.
Probably both are true, and the answer as Shuttleworth says is “well, in a few years once we get the company to be profitable.
- Al’s report is really good and, as always for him and most 451 reports, thorough as shit. Check it out for lists of customers and more analysis of Canonical’s business mix.
- If you’re into Shuttleworth, Barton George does frequent video interviews with him.
There’s much news in the container world with DockerCon and Red Hat having had conferences, plus Docker gets a new CEO. We also do a hind-sight analysis of what wrong with the losers of the Cloud Wars. And, as always, recommendations from the three of us.
One of the more common questions I’ve had over the years is: “but, surely, everyone is just in the public cloud, right?” I remember having a non-productive debate with a room full of Forrester analysts back in about 2012 where they were going on and on about on-premise IT being dead. There was much talk about electricity outlets. To be fair, the analysts were somewhat split, but the public cloud folks were adamant. You can see this same sentiment from analysts (including, before around 2011, myself!) in things like how long it’s taken to write about private PaaS, e.g., the PaaS magic quadrant has only covered public PaaS since inception).
Along these lines, the Uptime Institute has some survey numbers out. Here’s some highlights:
Some 65% of enterprise workloads reside in enterprise owned and operated data centers—a number that has remained stable since 2014, the report found. Meanwhile, 22% of such workloads are deployed in colocation or multi-tenant data center providers, and 13% are deployed in the cloud, the survey found….On-prem solutions remain dominant in the enterprise due to massive growth in business critical applications and data for digital transformation, Uptime Institute said
Some 95% of IT professionals said they had migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year, according to another recent survey from SolarWinds.
That survey also found that nearly half of enterprises were still dedicating at least 70% of their yearly budget to traditional, on-premise applications, potentially pointing to growing demand for a hybrid infrastructure….
Nearly 75% of companies’ data center budgets increased or stayed consistent in 2017, compared to 2016, the survey found.
Metrics, KPIs, and what organizations are focusing on (uptime):
More than 90% of data center and IT professionals surveyed said they believe their corporate management is more concerned about outages now than they were a year ago. And while 90% of organizations conduct root cause analysis of an IT outage, only 60% said that they measure the cost of downtime as a business metric, the report found.
Demographics: “responses from more than 1,000 data center and IT professionals worldwide.”
Pretty much all Pivotal Cloud Foundry customers run “private cloud.” Many of them want to move to public cloud in a “multi-cloud” (I can’t make myself say “hybrid cloud”) fashion or mostly public cloud over the next 5 to ten years. That’s why we support all the popular public clouds. Most of them are doing plenty of things in public cloud now – though, not anywhere near “a whole lotta” – and there are of course, outliers.
This does bring up a nuanced but important point: I didn’t check out the types of workloads in the survey. I’d suspect that much of the on-premises workloads are packaged software. There’s no doubt plenty of custom written application run on-premises – even the majority of them per my experience with the Pivotal customer base. However, I’d still suspect that more custom written applications were running in the public cloud than other workloads. Just think of all the mobile apps and marketing apps out there.
Also, see some qualitative statements from CIO types.
So, the idea that it’s all public cloud in enterprise IT, thus far, is sort of like, you know: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Now that they don’t have to compete with AWS, they have an extra $300m floating around in the spreadsheets:
“Ultimately now it’s about how are we going to build a stronger company. If we don’t have to go spend $300 million a year in capital competing against Amazon, building computing storage and networking, where should we go put that? In things like managed cybersecurity and professional services,” said Rhodes.
On OpenStack, finding the product/market for for private cloud:
And what about OpenStack, the open-source cloud computing platform that Rackspace created with NASA?
“We thought the world wanted another alternative to public cloud,” said Rhodes. “What we are learning is the world doesn’t need another public cloud, so OpenStack is shifting form and going private cloud.”
Also, cameo from my former 451 colleague Carl Brooks.
- Video: “In 2017 Amazon is expected to spend $4.5bn on television and film content, roughly twice what HBO will spend. But it has a big payoff.”
- Prime momentum: “Mr Nowak reckons the company had 72m Prime members last year, up by 32% from 2015.”
- Cloud: “Last year AWS’s revenue reached $12bn, up by more than 150% since 2014.”
- Anti-trust, in the US: “If competitors fail to halt Amazon’s whirl of activities, antitrust enforcers might yet do so instead. This does not seem an imminent threat. American antitrust authorities mainly consider a company’s effect on consumers and pricing, not broader market power. By that standard, Amazon has brought big benefits.”
What does it really mean to “run like Google”? Is that even a good idea? Andrew Shafer comes back to the podcast to talk with Coté about how the Google SRE book and the newly announced Google CRE program start addressing those questions. We discuss some of the general principals, and “small” ones too that are in those bodies of work and how they represent an interesting evolution of it IT management is done. Many of the concepts that the DevOps and cloud-native community talks about pop in Google’s approach to operations and software delivery, providing a good, hyper-scale case study of how to do IT management and software development for distributed applications. We also discuss Pivotal’s involvement in the Google CRE program.
From 451’s report on Google Next:
Google believes that a hybrid architecture will persist in the coming years as enterprises continue to migrate workloads to various clouds. Its hybrid cloud architecture revolves around its virtual private cloud. Google VPC is an instantiation of GCP that can dedicate compute, storage and network resources to an enterprise. It is built upon Google’s proprietary private global network designed for high reliability, low latency and hardened security. Kubernetes acts as the orchestration and operational backplane for hybrid implementations. Elasticity and scale are achieved by linking to Google public cloud services.
It also has many numbers on market-share, SI/channel development, and geographic foot-print.
There’s always some good year/year stuff in this survey. I’ll have to check it out soon.
Meanwhile, some coverage from Serdar Yegulalp:
This category is going to be increasingly weird to cover. Here, what they really mean are “containers and container orchestration tools…oh, and configuration management tools.”
Arguably, you’d put something like Cloud Foundry in there if you have a gumbo of three different software categories, each used by people who want to follow DevOps practices and get the benefits of improving software. We haven’t put public numbers recently, but back in September of 2015 Pivotal Cloud Foundry had $100m in annual bookings, and the growth has continued.
While Pivotal Labs’ early success was among startups, PCF was designed for organizations needing to increase velocity and change their application delivery process, which appeals to large enterprises. About 90% of Pivotal’s revenue comes from enterprise customers today. The company reports that its number of paying customers is in the hundreds, with average deal sizes in the high six-figure range. It also says most of its customers are using PCF on top of VMware’s IaaS offering. AWS is currently in second place among PCF deployments with Azure as a close third that is gaining momentum among the Fortune 100.
All of that means: Pivotal Cloud Foundry has many customers running in production (with the resulting revenue) and, I’d argue, much market share. If you throw in IBM and MicroFocus/HPE’s Cloud Foundry distro revenue, plus OSS use (like at 18F), you’ve got a large chunk of Cloud Foundry usage out there, which should translate into a large chunk of “doing software better (with DevOps)” marketshare for all of Cloud Foundry.
Like I said, coverage will be weird for awhile as people sort it out. Kind of like “cloud” was in 2009, and pretty much every “PaaS” category now, though it’s getting better. I’m looking forward to what they sort out in the new(ish?) DevOps practice at IDC.
More coverage of the survey:
Private, public, hybrid:
One key trend RightScale’s tracked over 2014, 2015, and 2016 has been the use of private cloud through OpenStack, VMware, and related products. This time around, while private cloud adoption hasn’t fallen off a cliff, it’s edged down: 72 percent of respondents this year run a private cloud, versus 77 percent last year and 63 percent the prior year. Hybrid cloud has shown a similar trajectory of 67 percent in 2017, 71 percent in 2016, and 58 percent in 2015.
After margin of error, pretty slow, but a good enough pace I guess.
Make no mistake: AWS is cloud king, and it’ll safely remain that way for a long time. But Microsoft Azure has made remarkable amount of progress in the last year. In 2016, only 20 percent of respondents were running apps there; this year, it’s 34 percent. With enterprise users specifically, the growth was even more dramatic, from 26 percent to 43 percent.
And, Oracle and DigitalOcean:
Azure’s growth isn’t coming at the expense of business from other cloud providers. Oracle Cloud and DigitalOcean, the two decliners on the list, didn’t have enough business to lose in the first place to constitute Azure’s jump: respectively, 4 and 5 percent in 2016, and 3 and 2 percent this year.
Now, of course all this hinges on what exactly they mean by cloud, what the sample base is (just RightScale customers?), etc. But, anything that’s multi-year is useful.
See also Barb’s brief coverage, e.g.: “Azure, meanwhile, saw a bigger jump with 43% of respondents on Azure now, compared to 26% last year.”
The biz has also just signed a deal to spend $400m a year on Google’s cloud hosting over the next five years – that’s $2bn in total for the Gmail giant.
That’s an amazing chunk of spend for a hats on cats business. Hopefully, Ben Thompson’s theories that Snapchat is the new TV pan out.