November 23, 2017

While the majority of exiting application workloads continue to run on-premises, the majority of new applications are being deployed on public clouds. A new report from Sumo Logic that examines what new technologies are being employed on public clouds finds most of those new applications use containers and serverless computing frameworks.

Based on the activity of 1,500 Sumo Logic customers employing cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the “State of Modern Applications in the Cloud 2017” report finds that a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. Kalyan Ramanathan, vice president of product marketing at Sumo Logic, which provides log management and analytics software delivered as a cloud service, says Sumo Logic doesn’t have a large enough base of customers using Docker containers or a serverless computing framework on Microsoft Azure or GCP to make a scientifically valid conclusion. Microsoft has been making available a container service running on Linux on Azure for some time, but the company is only now making it possible to run containers on Azure. Linux accounts for about 12 percent of the usage on Microsoft Azure, the report finds.

It’s still unclear what the relationship between containers and serverless computing frameworks will be. In many cases, serverless computing frameworks are now being favored for stateless applications that once were the province of containers. However, containers now are being employed more for stateful applications that don’t lend themselves as neatly to an event-driven architecture than being used to drive a serverless computing framework.

The report, which was announced today at the Illuminate user conference hosted by Sumo Logic, highlights how public clouds aren’t simply transforming how IT gets delivered, but also what technologies are being consumed. For example, according to the report, there are now more organizations running NoSQL databases (72 percent) than relational databases (63 percent). In terms of relational database adoption, the report also finds that organizations employing instances of open-source MySQL databases (14 percent) exceed commercial database offerings from Oracle (4 percent) and Microsoft (2 percent).

The Sumo Logic report confirms two new enterprise IT realities. The first is that developers are exercising more influence over IT infrastructure decisions than ever. Many of those developers are showing a marked preference for open-source technologies that they can implement themselves without having to wait for purchasing approval. When they do have to purchase something, there’s also a notable preference for cloud services that can be consumed on-demand versus waiting for an internal IT organization to get approval to acquire and stand up local IT infrastructure. Combine those two trends with the rise of Docker containers that make it simple to deploy and update applications regardless of where they run, it becomes obvious the world of enterprise IT has been turned upside down.

The issue then becomes one of determining how quickly IT operations teams can be transformed to manage a modern IT environment. Not every developer wants to spend their time analyzing what type of cloud services are best-suited to run a specific application workload or sorting through bills from cloud service providers to determine where money is being wasted. They want someone on an IT operations teams to transparently accomplish those tasks in the least disruptive way possible by employing an integrated set of DevOps processes that eliminates any friction. As simple an idea as that may seem, however, the majority of internal IT organizations are surprisingly still a long way from achieving that goal.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.