An Exploration into OpenStack Technology

By Amarjeet Manchanda, Director – Solution Architecture, Red Hat

OpenStack is expected to grow exponentially with an expected CAGR of 32.9 percent over the period of 2015 to 2019. The growth of OpenStack can be attributed to the fact that it provides ways for enterprises to drive efficiency, gain a greater sense of agility, flexibility and reduce costs. In India, OpenStack is still in its nascent stage, and it is imperative to educate the IT market about OpenStack and its benefits and also to support the community efforts.  Although it is still at an initial stage, there are a lot of new initiatives that have come up in the country in the recent years such as the OpenStack Days.

The biggest benefit of OpenStack is that it is deployed as an “Infrastructure as a service” solution and offers high levels of adaptability, enabling enterprises to move workload back and forth between public and private cloud platforms. Many organisations can potentially face security issues when moving to cloud based platform. OpenStack safeguards information that is being stored in the private cloud, secures payment gateways, and adheres to compliance standards. A number of IT owners mix up between compliance issues and security concerns. However, it is pertinent to separate both compliance issues and security concerns and deal with each in isolation.

OpenStack Foundation

The OpenStack Foundation promotes the global development, distribution and adoption of the OpenStack Cloud Operating System. As the global independent home for OpenStack, the foundation has attracted global attention not only towards contribution to the development and improvisation of the software but also in being recognized as a vital need for adoption due to its several benefits. It has over 450 supporting companies and developers from over 100 countries. The goal of the OpenStack Foundation is to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem globally by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry.

Challenges

While it has fast become the preferred choice to implement private and hybrid clouds, OpenStack comes with its own set of challenges. The process of migration to an OpenStack platform is complex and many businesses end up underestimating the process and the efforts deserved by architectural planning. As the 2015 Forrester brief on Open Stack suggests, a change program of this magnitude takes time and is not without risk. It’s best to handle OpenStack’s part in the broader program in a phased fashion.

The Global OpenStack Services Market 2015-2019 states that the resource gap arising from the increased use of OpenStack and self-deployment of the technology, as well as poor availability of professionals having the requisite skill sets are presenting a challenge to the growth of the global OpenStack services market. The complexities related to OpenStack services have increased considerably and the global business landscape is constantly expanding. Consequently, service providers worldwide are moving to smarter and readily achievable solutions to remain focused on their core competencies. These objectives can be achieved by adopting managed services. In summary, it is good for OpenStack adoption at large.

Corrective Measures

Organisations can start with a small pilot project at first to familiarise themselves with OpenStack technology rather than going for entire cloud integration at once, since it requires significant training in the initial six months. There are various adoption models for OpenStack such as hosted private cloud, on-premise installation and so on, which can be evaluated and analysed in different pilot projects. This requires one to begin small and grow it while running your IT, through a bi-modal approach. Lastly, partners and experienced system integrators can help implement the technology in an effective manner, especially during the early specification and pilot phase.

Lack of talent and proper OpenStack knowledge has been cited as the prime challenges in the implementation of OpenStack. This gap can only be bridged through proper training programs that offer insights on installation, configuration, and maintenance of the OpenStack Platform.

Conclusion

More organisations across the globe are seeing great returns from OpenStack private clouds in the areas of lowered total cost of operations as well as time to market. As OpenStack reaches new levels of success, and air of insecurity around it clears, the technology will cement itself as the most preferred IaaS solution to be adopted by organisations.

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