Building the Future of Cloud: Themes from OpenStack Summit Boston

Participants in the OpenStack Summit last week departed Boston with a sense of renewed hope and energy.

Not only were there clear indicators of the project’s continuing maturity, but the community responded positively to the OpenStack Foundation’s updated vision for OpenStack. Conversations at the vendor marketplace and in hallways trended less towards “What is OpenStack?” or “Does OpenStack work?” and more towards “What is the best way to use OpenStack?” and “How do I use containers with OpenStack?”

These conversations mirrored the three big themes that emerged from the Summit: OpenStack is real and growing in the enterprise, “as a service” is the best way to consume OpenStack and OpenStack should be seen as a collection of composable infrastructure building blocks.

OpenStack is real and growing in the enterprise

OpenStack has its skeptics, and one of their most frequent refrains has been to assert that enterprises aren’t really using OpenStack in production. While this has been repeatedly refuted at previous Summits (with facts like 50 percent of the Fortune 100 uses OpenStack), more details were provided in Boston. The Foundation’s most recent OpenStack User Survey found OpenStack deployments had grown by 44 percent year over year, while roughly two-thirds of OpenStack deployments are considered “in production.” This data was backed by testimonials from enterprise customers such as AT&T, eBay, The Gap and GE, among others.

Many of these enterprise users rely on Rackspace to manage their OpenStack private clouds, making it no surprise that we are fervent believers in, and defenders of, the project. Read Rackspace SVP of Strategy and Product Scott Crenshaw’s provocative post, “More #FakeNews: the Death of OpenStack” to learn more.

“As a service” is the smartest way to consume OpenStack

GE took center stage on day one of the Summit to talk about how the company adopted a consumption model for private clouds that the OpenStack Foundation now recognizes as “Remotely Managed Private Clouds.” In this model, an organization consumes a private cloud hosted on its premises, which is managed remotely by providers such as Rackspace.

We pioneered this consumption model, which answers the needs of customers who want to focus on their core business of creating great products and services for their customers. Enterprises like GE recognize the power of consuming its private cloud as a service without having to waste cycles dealing with the complexities of operating a cloud infrastructure.

Learn more about why GE Healthcare chose Rackspace Private Cloud as its remotely managed private cloud of choice, and why, after deploying it, one engineer described the platform as “made of awesome.”

OpenStack is composable: use, build and integrate what you need

Many companies have moved to or are moving to an “open source first” approach to technology. For OpenStack to remain relevant in this world means embracing other open source communities and integrating their technologies with OpenStack. This is most apparent with new container technologies such as Docker/Moby and Kubernetes, where there are opportunities to not only integrate them into OpenStack but to have those communities integrate various OpenStack projects into their technologies as composable infrastructure building blocks.

The opportunities to use OpenStack as an open source composable infrastructure are wide-ranging, including integrating containers more fully into an OpenStack cloud to integrating specific OpenStack projects into container technologies such as Kubernetes that may only need Cinder block storage for providing persistent storage. It could mean integrating the Ironic bare-metal metal project with big data technologies such as Hadoop.

One of Rackspace’s missions is to be the leading managed services provider for open source infrastructure. Giving users more choice in how they want to consume OpenStack with other open source technologies is an important next stage in building the future of cloud.

We are committed to helping users do this more easily by allowing them to consume these solutions as managed services, whether they be an OpenStack private cloud, standalone Swift object storage or Ceph storage, or in the future, Kubernetes on OpenStack as a service. If your company is deciding how to best leverage open source infrastructure and private clouds for your business, Rackspace has you covered.

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Kenneth Hui was a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer and Cloud Solutions Architect at Rackspace. Ken has 20+ years of experience in the IT industry and is passionate about helping customers with their cloud computing journey. He lives in New York City where he can indulge in his love of great food from all around the world. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kenhuiny.


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