OpenStack: Good cloud, but hard to master

I don’t just write about OpenStack; I use this open-source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud myself. It’s great. It’s powerful and flexible. But never for one second have I thought it was easy to use.

That’s why when SUSE, a Linux distributor that specializes in OpenStack, found that administrators and executives were concerned about “installation challenges, possible vendor lock-in and a lack of OpenStack skills in the market,” I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

The survey of 813 IT professionals at senior-manager level and above in large companies also showed that 81 percent of them were “planning to move or are already moving to OpenStack private cloud.” But just because OpenStack has many virtues doesn’t mean IT executives aren’t painfully aware of challenges.

So what are these challenges anyway?

  • Difficulty in implementation: Half of all enterprises that tried to implement an OpenStack cloud have failed, and 65 percent of companies report they have found the implementation experience difficult. Potentially adding to the degree of difficulty, 44 percent plan to download and install OpenStack software themselves.
  • Vendor lock-in constraints: 92 percent of respondents have concerns about vendor lock-in when it comes to choosing a private cloud infrastructure solution. This one is more a matter of perception. If you use OpenStack, you have a wide variety of distributors to choose from, including CSC. OpenStack is actually the most universally supported of all cloud platforms.
  • Skills shortage: 86 percent of respondents said the lack of skills in the market is making their companies reluctant to pursue private cloud. In addition, 78 percent of companies that have not yet adopted private cloud are deterred by the skills shortage.

So with all that, why are large companies moving to OpenStack private cloud? Easy.

  • Universally adopted: 90 percent of large companies say they have already implemented at least one private cloud within their business.
  • Trusted: 96 percent of respondents said they would use a cloud solution for business-critical workloads.
  • Open source: 96 percent of respondents believe there are business advantages to implementing an open-source private cloud. The most common reasons for adopting private clouds were to reduce costs and/or because of budget constraints (67 percent), and to increase agility/innovation (77 percent) — advantages associated with open source solutions.

As Al Sadowski, 451 Research‘s research director for Service Providers, said, “Due to the complex nature of the projects, managed services and OpenStack distributions are increasingly the deployment choice for those users that remain supportive of the platform after struggling to find success with the do-it-yourself approach. We continue to see OpenStack becoming the de facto, open-source option for deploying private clouds.”

As I said at the beginning, just be prepared to seek help to get it up and running.


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  1. Hey Steven! Nice article.

    Been following you for about 12 years now (ever since the days.) Love your articles. I wanted to show you what I’ve been working on in terms of my own version of Private clouds.

    Its much easier to setup then OpenStack. Let me know what you think:



  2. Yes, I am agree with you. But go for the kernel training website. They have experts to teach you well and they support 24X7.

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