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April 7, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:30am

OpenStack solves its biggest problem to become a cloud that’s fit for the enterprise

Analysis: The 13th version of OpenStack comes out as Rackspace goes for cloud in a box and Red Hat signs a new customer.

By James Nunns

OpenStack’s rise to prominence has been helped by a mixed community of vendors large and small, and by the ability to tailor cloud from a wide variety of offerings.

While this in the past has lead to an offering that was perhaps too complex to approach, the problem for the most part has been remedied.

To some extent the development of OpenStack to being an enterprise ready cloud has come due to the level of vendor commitment to it.

Rackspace for example is launching a kind of cloud in a box that combines servers, storage, and networking gear which can be shipped to the customers data centre and then Rackspace will manage it.

This is of course an OpenStack offering, of which Rackspace is a pioneering member along with NASA.

The idea behind this move from Rackspace is to basically give enterprises and mid-market companies an easy route into OpenStack by simplifying deployment and management to a level that basically the business has nothing to do with it.

Rackspace’s plan links back to the idea of OpenStack being overly complex, but what complexity is left when the vendor is doing all the work and the private cloud is basically being offered as a service?

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Managed clouds are clearly one of Rackspace’s strong points and with strengthening this in mind; the company has partnered with Equinix for managed OpenStack cloud platforms.

Equinix will provide an option for hosting Rackspace’s managed OpenStack platforms through colo datacentres. Equinix is becoming Rackspace’s preferred third-party provider for collocation.

Although Rackspace is one of the leading players in OpenStack it is not alone in producing these kinds of advancements.

The OpenStack community itself has released Mitaka, the 13th version of OpenStack. This release was designed and built by a community of 2,335 developers along with operators and users from 293 organisations, which gives an insight as to how big of a group effort OpenStack is.

The advancements made in this release include improving day-to-day ease of use for those that deploy the cloud and the administrators. The community has simplified configuration for the Nova compute service which introduces additional standard defaults and reduces the number of options that must be manually selected.

Further advancements in this area sees the Keystone identify service also being simplified with multi-step processing for setting up identity management features in a cloud network.

Scalability is another area that is being tackled with this release with features such as Heat’s convergence engine now being capable of handling larger loads and more complex actions for horizontal scaling.

Attention to improved user experiences is a common thread throughout the latest release of the OpenStack technology and it is these improvements which have seen it become more increasingly deployed across a range of industries.

Earlier in the week OpenStack’s private cloud was chosen by car manufacturer Volkswagen. The company opted for Mirantis, a pure-play OpenStack company to be the distribution vendor.

VW Offices

The car manufacturer is using the technology to help drive innovation across its business and consumer applications.

The deal, which was heavily influenced by Intel, was struck after the manufacturer identified OpenStack as the cloud it wanted to deploy across all of its brands. It will be using the technology to support its connected and self-driving car initiatives.

As one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, this is a huge win for OpenStack and goes quite a long way to proving its status as an enterprise class cloud.

Although Red Hat missed out on the VW deal, the open source company has revealed that C.A. Mobile, a mobile services provider in Japan has built a flexible infrastructure to support its websites with an OpenStack cloud solution from Red Hat and Dell.

According to the company the appeal to C.A. Mobile was OpenStack’s infrastructure customisation and auto-scaling features that led it to pursue the Dell Red Hat Cloud solution which is powered by Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux OpenStack platform.

Like many companies, C.A. Mobile looked to deal with challenges such as traffic spikes in an on-premise environment but found its in-house server unable to keep up with the traffic increases.

The reason for the raft of OpenStack announcements coming out is because it is the OpenStack Summit on April the 25th to the 29th, which is being held in Austin Texas and will be attended by CBR.

OpenStack Austin

These releases obviously give the vendors and community at a whole something to talk about but they also highlight that OpenStack has become a much more significant player in the cloud industry.

The idea started with solid technology and a growing community of strong vendors that has been fine tuning since its creation almost six years ago, something which appears to have paid off.

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