OpenStack has been in the spotlight recently as analysts and vendors debate its role in the enterprise. While OpenStack has the support of powerful backers such as HP and AT&T, some observers have argued that OpenStack clouds lack differentiation. It’s possible that companies simply need better guidance in using OpenStack for private and hybrid clouds, which can save them money compared to purely public infrastructure.
As an open source project, OpenStack is flexible enough to run on a variety of cloud hardware. InformationWeek’s Andrew Froehlich explained that legacy appliances and storage media can be repurposed to run on OpenStack, providing enterprises with a cost-effective alternative to procuring new proprietary equipment.
At the same time, the community-driven nature of OpenStack may contribute to a perceived lack of direction and clarity. Former OpenStack contributor Andrew Shafer advised the community to focus on core features rather than adding more functionality higher up in the stack.
OpenStack may currently be akin to a toolbox for building cloud systems, but that could make it a valuable asset for constructing hybrid infrastructure. Randy Bias, CEO of Cloudscaling, a Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance partner, told attendees of the recent OpenStack Summit that OpenStack provided the right tools for many different deployments
“We know that hybrid cloud is the future. I think most people would agree with that,” stated Bias. “So I see OpenStack as key to building that hybrid cloud future. We can built a lot of different OpenStack systems with different purposes for HPC, public cloud, private cloud and so on and some of these will be designed to be public cloud compatible.”
However, Bias noted that there were still key challenges facing OpenStack adoption. For example, some users have pushed for greater standardization of OpenStack, while developers have sought to maintain the project’s signature openness and inclusiveness.