You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Happy 6th Birthday OpenStack

July 19 marks the 6th anniversary of the founding of the OpenStack open source project, and as co-founders, we couldn’t be prouder.

Each year around this time, we take stock of OpenStack’s progress, and this year, we have another milestone to celebrate: the first anniversary of the OpenStack Innovation Center, which we founded with Intel to more quickly and intelligently take on remaining challenges and continue to speed up enterprise adoption.

Fortune100

That adoption is already impressive: half of Fortune 100 companies now use OpenStack. According to a recent survey published on CIO.com, 81 percent of senior IT professionals are planning to move or have already moved to OpenStack private cloud. More than 54,000 community members and upwards of 80 global user groups now work across 179 countries, supporting more than 600 companies.

But deployment challenges remain. By its very nature, OpenStack is infinitely complex, with an almost limitless number of configuration choices, varying levels of maturity between a growing number of projects and a rapid pace of new releases.

OS at 6

Many companies lack the operational expertise to optimally configure and then run the platform. The CIO.com survey found that half of all enterprises that tried to implement an OpenStack cloud failed. Of those who were successful, 65 percent found the implementation experience difficult.

These findings aren’t surprising, given that OpenStack is a relatively new technology, and the industry overall has a shortage of technical talent, but that also means it won’t be a quick or easy challenge for companies to solve on their own.

Luckily, they don’t have to.

As Rackspace has continued to invest in OpenStack, one thing has become crystal clear: for the vast majority of companies, OpenStack is best consumed as a managed service. We’ve come to understand that customer success isn’t about finding the right open source project; it’s about finding the right partner.

As builder and operator of the world’s largest OpenStack public cloud and some of the world’s largest OpenStack private clouds, we understand better than anyone what is required to help our customers take full advantage of this complex but powerful cloud platform. Rackspace customers rely on us to help do critical tasks such as health checks, capacity management and upgrades.

Consuming OpenStack as a managed service also eliminates the need to find operational expertise — a real bottom line boon, given that OpenStack engineers are expensive and difficult to find, hire and retain. We eliminate this talent gap and enable our customers to focus their IT resources on developing software and features for their customers (instead of managing infrastructure).

Our unmatched stable of OpenStack experts act as extensions of our customers’ IT staff, freeing them to focus their time on the more important tasks of enabling their businesses to be successful.

Rackspace is proud to be one of the founders of OpenStack and the project’s current standard-bearer. We are humbled by the great community that has grown up around it. And as we celebrate this milestone, we continue to look forward — to watch adoption grow and the technology mature even more.

Bryan Thompson is the General Manager of the OpenStack Private Cloud business at Rackspace. Prior to joining Rackspace, Bryan served as VP of Product management at Tier 3 and held product and technology leadership roles at Limelight Networks and Amazon.com. He brings more than fifteen years of experience in technology building, deploying and operating solutions for the enterprise.

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