Enterprises should just ignore OpenStack

OK, I’ve been back and forth with this, and I’m ready to say, “I don’t get OpenStack”.  I mean I get OpenStack.  I understand what it is, but I don’t understand why I should be interested in it from an enterprise perspective.  It’s the “Kernel” of the cloud.  I don’t want a kernel.  I want a solution.  I don’t choose Linux based solutions because I have access to the kernel.  I implement Linux solution because they meet my requirements.  Exactly what requirements are met by OpenStack?

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OpenStack is positioned to allow the Rackspace’s and HP’s of the world to compete with Amazon.  As my sons would say about dominate athletes, Amazon is a BEAST.  They dominate the IaaS market and mindshare.  OpenStack hits all of the sweet spots that people complain about AWS.  It’s open so the community can band together and create a robust ecosystem based on the OpenStack kernel.  But let’s look at the typical enterprises’ IaaS cloud requirements.

If you are redesigning your DC around a private cloud with the ability to scale out to public cloud what’s important to you?  I would say Security, Elasticity, Support and Availability.  Maybe not in that order but more or less that would be the list.  You may have noticed portability isn’t in the list.  By design, my applications and systems should be based on a portable architecture that’s not reliant on my cloud providers API.  That’s why the industry has provided us solutions like RightScale.  If I have RightScale and my private cloud management stack be it Eucalyptus, vCloud Director or System Management Server 2012 why do I care what my provider is running on their backend?  I need solutions that are ready for deployment today and have a decent amount of support.  There are plenty of reasons for HP, Rackspace and even VMware to care about OpenStack.  I just don’t see any of those reasons existing in the enterprise data center.  Agree/Disagree?

Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

18 thoughts on “Enterprises should just ignore OpenStack

  1. As more and more hosting providers (RackSpace and DreamHost are perfect examples) are moving into the cloud provider business they might adopt OpenStack. When they do, it might be more and more interresting for enterprises to be running OpenStack, because the closer/more compatible the environments match, the easier it is to move workloads ?

      1. I don’t understand, OpenStack supports 4 hypervisors: Xen/XenServer, VMWare, Hyper-V, Qemu/KVM. Is there one that OpenStack should support ? You can hopefully find a provider which uses the same hypervisor that fits your needs. I think HP Cloud and DreamHost use KVM, RackSpace uses Xen/XenServer.

      2. Right. To be portable the Hypervisors have to be the same. My point being you can’t just take an image from one provider to a different one if they aren’t compatible.

    1. Note that with our solution at, you can actually move images between different clouds without modification. For example, you can run a VMware image (with vmxnet3 drivers, pvscsi, etc), on top of Amazon (which is Xen) or HP (which is KVM).

    1. Great write up Ofir. I’m interested to know the mix of Randy’s clients. I don’t have the industry insight to know for sure, but I just don’t find a great deal of public testimonials of traditional enterprises deploying OpenStack.

      It seems like it’s just too difficult of a model to implement and maintain vs. traditional packaged solutions from companies like BMC, Novell and IBM who already understand the enterprise.

      Chris Kemp from Nebula has a great summary of what I’m talking about. It’s his reflection on the same conference.

      1. Their customers are companies that want something like AWS on their own network. Something which has an API for everything and which can scale to a large size. That think that kind of setup is where the future is heading.

        Also they only use it to deploy new cloud-ready applications, not for legacy applications.

      2. Keith – THANKS man!
        I totally agree with your pov.. I talked with guys that moved from VMWare to OpenStack and already running for 1-2years .. no autoscale there.. embracing in my pov. I see 3 options for moving traditional enterprise –
        1- Try new innovative solutions like ravellosystems to move back and forth
        2 – Do the same traditional IT project implementation challenges .. high risk .. lots of investments (@randybias style)
        3 – Start from scratch on the public cloud – also include great investment
        4 – Stand still and kill the application 😉 – will take time but will happen..
        any other options?
        Thanks for a great discussion,

    1. “High risk, high cost, high touch, high skill requirements.”

      That is why they talk to a company like cloudScaling that was mentioned above (Randy)

      1. Lennie, I don’t know. I need to see testimonies from customers of Nebula (the Infoweek author is from Nebula) or CloudScaling. Randy, is a big personality but where are the results. Wouldn’t his customer be at the OpenStack conference speaking the wonders of the product? The whole premise of the Infoweek article is that the traditional enterprise isn’t interested enough to deploy OpenStack private clouds. There haven’t been any big announcements around any non-provider customers deploying OpenStack in some time at scale.

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