OpenStack is the open source answer to cloud and will increasingly become a serious disruptor to the $120 billion global infrastructure spend. To do this, the OpenStack community must focus on improvements that accelerate developer productivity, improve life cycle management and help OpenStack become a single platform for mixed workloads. Over the next few years, the ultimate vision for OpenStack is that it becomes a single platform for VM’s, containers and bare metal, and that it can be easily operable as a hybrid cloud with AWS, Azure and others.
What, if anything, is holding back adoption?
One of the biggest barriers of adoption in the shift to OpenStack isn’t technology, but the larger cultural shift to agile IT. Even if an organisation wants to move to the “cloud,” employees will revert back to what they know – traditional, compartmentalised and slow processes and roles. In order to adopt agile IT, change needs to come from the executive level, and education needs to happen across an organisation.
Many have said that OpenStack is complex and that resources are thin on the ground. How is this being addressed?
Skills gaps are common for new technologies, and actually point to the increasing demand for OpenStack. The market responded to the demand for OpenStack skills by increasing training offerings for OpenStack in 2015, and we expect this market will continue to grow. According to the OpenStack Foundation, since the launch of the OpenStack marketplace in September 2013, training offerings grew from 17 unique courses in eight cities to 119 courses in 99 cities. Mirantis Training also grew - we trained as many people last year as we have since we debuted our OpenStack training in 2012.
Which industries are typically adopting OpenStack and why?
Industries where the Internet is disrupting their business are most actively seeking OpenStack. At its inception, OpenStack was most popular with Web/SaaS companies where their entire business hinged on cloud computing. Now cloud is becoming a differentiator in industries like financial services, retail, and media, and so we see many of these companies adopting OpenStack.
Is OpenStack only for large companies with huge resources and will this ever change?
As OpenStack matures, the technology will require fewer skills resources or customisation to consume, which will increase adoption across the board. However, that OpenStack is only attainable to huge companies is a myth. OpenStack is adopted by smaller companies; they’re just not as front and centre as the larger brands. Lithium is a great example. Another that comes to mind is the University of Hawaii.
How will the market and OpenStack itself evolve over the next couple of years?
Another trend we are seeing in OpenStack is the increase in telco adoption. For large telcos like AT&T and Telstra, cloud is a critical differentiator and public IaaS is not an option. Many are not only adopting OpenStack, but massively contributing to projects, especially in SDN (software defined networking) and NFV (network functions virtualisation). We expect rapid innovation to continue in these area over the next couple of years.
OpenStack would be nothing without its community, so in addition to the above comments I’d also like to add that Nati Shalom, CTO and founder of GigaSpaces, wrote a terrific predictions blog in December that I agree with wholeheartedly.
Boris Renski, Co-Founder and CMO at Mirantis
Image Credit: OpenStack