OpenStack Is Taking Important Steps Forward

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 18, 2013

This week, the OpenStack Summit is going on, and in conjunction with the conference there are lots of signs that the open source cloud computing platform is going to start heading into high gear for the remainder of 2013. Red Hat advanced its enterprise Red Hat OpenStack offering into an Early Adopter Program and announced the availability of RDO, a community-supported distribution of OpenStack that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora and their derivatives. Meanwhile, there are reports that some enterprises are ditching Amazon Web Services (AWS) for OpenStack, in a push to gain more control over their cloud-based futures.

In one example of a company at OpenStack Summit describing its departure from AWS, ITworld has a good report on how HubSpot, a company that provides inbound marketing services, moved from AWS to OpenStack after having bad experiences with "zombie servers" that the company was paying for but not using in its cloud deployment. According to the story:

"It went to an OpenStack summit in 2011 and within a month had built nine nodes, doubling that to 16 nodes in nine months, for a total of 224 cores. Six months later, taking us to earlier this year, it had 166 nodes and 2,000 cores. Its private cloud is managed by Rackspace and is actually a hybrid environment, also using Rackspace’s public cloud. HubSpot also still uses AWS..."

HubSpot is not going to be alone among companies that deploy partially on Amazon's cloud platform and partially on open source platforms like OpenStack. "Enterprises that are moving to private clouds tend to be those that had developers start using the cloud without permission," notes ITworld.

That last turn of events is, of course, exactly what happened in the late 1980s when users at the departmental level started deploying Local Area Networks (LANs) before enterprise leaders had even caught on to them. Grassroots deployments can have big long-term impacts.

Meanwhile, Red Hat is going to be offering enterprise-scale OpenStack tools and services and took big steps toward that end this week with its Early Adapter program and tech roadmap.  In August 2012, Red Hat announced the availability of the preview release of its Red Hat OpenStack distribution, aimed at enterprises building and managing private, public and hybrid Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds.

The Red Hat OpenStack Early Adopter Program is based on the community Folsom release, of which Red Hat was the second top corporate code contributor. "Red Hat OpenStack allows customers to leverage OpenStack technologies, while maintaining the security, stability and enterprise readiness of a platform built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux," the company's announcement says.

Red Hat has two advantages over other OpenStack platform providers. First, the company has a large and loyal group of enterprise users who already use RHEL, including many members of the Fortune 500. Second, the company is a proven leader at providing excellent support for open source platforms. We've made the point many times that the long-term OpenStack platform providers will have to focus on world-class support.  As this year progresses, we'll begin to see how Red Hat approaches this all-important task.