What you need to know before considering OpenStack

OpenStack's executive director has some tips for companies who are considering building a private cloud using the open-source framework


In its fifth year, OpenStack is swiftly gaining momentum in the enterprise world. One distributor, Rackspace, claims to have seen a 40 percent rise in larger firms deploying the technology, and industry heavyweights including Google, Cisco and Microsoft have are advocates of the open-source framework. 

Scare stories surrounding failed public cloud projects shouldn't put IT off, says the OpenStack Foundation's executive director Jonathan Bryce, nodding to Boot's parent company Walmart and Barclays bank's considerable deployments.

OpenStack logo credit openstack

OpenStack's maturity and the prevalence of enterprise focused services firms like Mirantis, who are ready to help integrate, means more IT teams are seriously considering the leap. Before you start the journey to native public cloud however, Bryce has four tips to make your project a success.

1. Focus

Bryce, speaking at OpenStack's Silicon Valley conference in California this morning, said that companies need to have a "specific focus", something that the NSA and Walmart considered when evaulating who their customers were, and the services they needed to provide for them.

2. Expertise in operating horizontal scaling

You will need the right talent to carry your project through, and someone who has experience in operational horizontal scaling is crucial, adds Bryce.

3. Define 'cloud preferred' policies

Bryce advises businesses, "put a stake in the ground" and set rigid regulations and rules around the organisation's new, preferred deployment model. One OpenStack user: Graeme Peacock at TD Bank, tells employees that if an application cannot be built on cloud, they will need his permission to obtain a physical server - an unlikely outcome, he adds.   

4. Do cloud for a good reason

"You can't just go build a private cloud just because it is a cool technology," says Bryce."There are a lot of failed private cloud projects out there." Making sure your IT teams and the entire organisation understands the reasons for taking this path will help ease the deployment, and ensure everyone is working from the same page. 

5. Build a platform for innovation

OpenStack operates as an "integration engine," says Bryce. It's a layer that takes different types of hardware and systems and integrates it into a platform that your developers and users can access from the front-end. Accepting the framework lives and breathes what user's needs are, will help assess your ongoing roadmap. 

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