Beyond Maturity: OpenStack Now THE Standard for Private Cloud

You’ve heard it before: “OpenStack is mature.”

The statement serves as a salve to all those considering adoption of the technology. It’s a familiar refrain, backed up by historical technological precedence AND it’s true. It’s so true, in fact, it’s not even news any longer. Hundreds of enterprises have it in production.

I’d argue that now, however, calling it “mature” is short-changing OpenStack.

The software, project and ecosystem are beyond mature. OpenStack is technologically competitive, robustly formidable and continuously coming up with alternative consumption models to fit the needs of organizations like yours.

In fact, it’s now regarded as THE standard for private cloud infrastructure.

A few years ago, the capabilities of OpenStack software were frequently compared to other open-sourced infrastructure management software platforms. But projects like CloudSystem and Eucalyptus haven’t adapted or evolved, so that’s no longer a fair comparison.

Today, OpenStack is rightly compared against proprietary private cloud software like Microsoft Azure Stack, vCloud Director and others. Having a seven-year-old open-sourced software stack so quickly compared to established vendor platforms is a huge testament to OpenStack’s growth and relevance.

And how do we conduct that comparison?

The first metric is reliability. Reliability is critical in any infrastructure platform meant to provide a cloudy model for application resiliency. OpenStack is used in countless mission-critical workloads, from Walmart to AT&T. We’re not talking about development or test clouds; these are massively distributed infrastructure platforms that support both new cloud-native applications and migrated business-critical legacy applications.

The second consideration is the upgrade path. We used to think of OpenStack enhancements exclusively benefitting greenfield deployments. Upgrades were so hard, we saw massive tails in version adoption. Today, users and operators find upgrades to recent OpenStack versions to be minimally invasive affairs. With upgrades improved, more and more users are able to take advantage of significant new features, such as active directory integration, bare-metal-as-a-service, and cell-based scalability.

Beyond new features, OpenStack has also integrated usage interfaces, identify federation and monitoring, and operations plugin layers that easily connect into operators’ existing systems— and those integrations improve with every new OpenStack release. Clearly, OpenStack’s software has moved beyond maturity, becoming a competitive solution against any vendors’ proprietary private cloud IaaS.

The ecosystem around OpenStack has also moved beyond maturity. The APIs are industry standards, addressable workloads keep expanding, the number of contributors is more diverse and user adoption has skyrocketed. OpenStack and its ecosystem of standards, software and backers stack up against any leading infrastructure platform. It’s now a formidable contender.

To make matters even better, while the ecosystem and software have grown beyond maturity, Rackspace is pushing the boundary when it comes to consumption models. We pioneered the managed service consumption model with our Rackspace Private Cloud offer, which is based on native upstream OpenStack — in your data center, in a hosted data center, or in our data centers. Our approach allows users to consume infrastructure in the same way they consume AWS – but with more tailoring and control. Newly innovative consumption models include utility pricing and build-operate-transfer models.

We’re already seeing other vendors deliver OpenStack as a managed service, just as Rackspace has, because it’s a robust alternative to do-it-yourself OpenStack that minimizes challenges and maximizes results. With our managed service, you receive more than just uptime SLAs; you get a deep partnership that addresses immediate pain points like cost-allocation, optimization and cloud adoption project management. Rackspace is already moving beyond now standard models to deliver utility based private infrastructure. Anyone interested in AWS-style per-VM pricing?

So, let’s wrap up.

Competitive tech? Check.

Formidable ecosystem? Check.

Evolving consumption models? Check.

OpenStack is beyond mature. And with Rackspace, you can consume it with no fear of complexity, talent gaps, lock-in or unfavorable cost-comparisons against public cloud. With hundreds of production OpenStack private clouds under management, we know what you need to succeed.

To learn more and ask questions about whether private cloud as a service or the build-operate-transfer model might be a good fit for your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

Kenny Johnston is a Senior Product Manager on the Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack product team. He brings more than four years of experience with OpenStack, having joined Rackspace from HP’s Helion OpenStack Distribution. Kenny is passionate about the importance of and challenges in open-sourced projects and is a member of the OpenStack Product Working Group. Kenny lives in Leawood, Kansas with his wife and two children.


  1. (Note: I’m a long-term Apache CloudStack user and contributor)
    I disagree with major claims made on this blog, yes OpenStack is maturer than past release but it still is quite fragile. The author did not specify which distro/flavour of OpenStack was referenced, as a heavily fragmented project it has its own technical, release and community challenges, upgrading various service and components is still tricky and error-prone, and support for Python2/3 dependencies, support for integrations and compatibilities is also an issue. Among opensource solutions, OpenStack indeed wins on marketing aspects, and its vendor-driven approach has led to greater awareness, fame, and popularity, however, there are other competitive solutions in the space who could have been compared and referenced but the author chose to reference failing/failed projects.

    If I may — OpenStack is like MySQL, and CloudStack is like PostgreSQL; each are useful in the space, trying to solve the problem with a different approach and audacity.

  2. Apologies for not referencing CloudStack, indeed it is another open-sourced IaaS option. I think you would admit that the ecosystem of contributors, operators and users around CloudStack is a fraction of that around OpenStack. As a result, OpenStack is more robust, configurable and capable of being integrated across a broader set of workloads and use cases. These are the very things which make OpenStack more than just a mature open-source IaaS platform, but THE standard private cloud API.

    I’m referencing native upstream OpenStack, the version that Rackspace deploys for our customers via the OpenStack Ansible project. Rackspace has invested significantly in the install, operate, upgrade tools around OpenStack including OSA. I’d suggest giving an OSA upgrade a try, I wouldn’t call it tricky or error prone.


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