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OpenStack + Private Cloud = Ideal Habitat for Devops

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OpenStack + Private Cloud = Ideal Habitat for Devops

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The use of OpenStack in the private cloud is invaluable for DevOps. It provides engineers the ability to innovate quickly and deal with uncertainty. It also maximizes existing infrastructure and provides a programmable, software-defined IaC. 

Openstack in the private cloud = agile development

OpenStack has emerged as the de facto standard for IaaS in the private cloud. It gives engineers a vital self-service capability to provision (and de-provision) environments, allowing them to act autonomously, in the moment. This helps to eliminate the downstream bottleneck caused by waiting for operations staff to find time to do the provisioning.

As OpenStack is open source it is vendor agnostic, allowing you to take advantage of competitive pricing rather than suffering from vendor lock-in. A private cloud means lower cost for the same capacity in a public cloud, which is especially useful for enterprises with high data needs.

For security reasons, OpenStack is still mainly used in the private cloud by developers and QA, i.e. in a non-production context. However, OpenStack gives an ability to optimize application performance and/or security by having more control compared to public cloud.

The software is increasingly backed by the critical mass of leading IT infrastructure vendors such as IBM, CICSO and HP. Gartner assumes that “by 2019, OpenStack enterprise deployments will grow tenfold, up from just hundreds of production deployments today, due to increased maturity and growing ecosystem support.”1

Challenges to consider

OpenStack implementation skills are still rare in the market, so experimentation and self-learning is necessary. Although this takes time, it is offset by the fact the software is free and represents a good opportunity to gain internal expertise. This is particularly valid if you class infrastructure as a core competence.

The maturity and functionality of OpenStack projects vary widely - while it covers storage, network and compute, the main adoption currently happens around compute (Nova) and block storage (Cinder), with object storage and network (Neutron) lacking significantly behind.

However, without leveraging virtualized network services as part of a private cloud, full-stack environment provisioning is not possible, so don’t forget to add necessary network services to your private cloud.

Where to begin

Integrating OpenStack clouds with existing infrastructure can be a challenge. It is hardly plug and play. At first, it is best to focus on relatively isolated DevOps environments, such as Gartner’s “mode two”2 applications rather than introducing open stack across the board straight away, (Bimodal IT “refers to having two modes of IT, each designed to develop and deliver information – and technology – intensive services in its own way. Mode 1 is traditional, emphasizing scalability, efficiency, safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is nonsequential, emphasizing agility and speed.”3)

As with any open source software, new functions and upgrades are frequently released. This means keeping up with changes in functionality and filling gaps with customizations or third-party products. Upgrades are complex and typically require planned downtime. For these reasons, we recommend choosing a hardened distribution and sticking with it.

Openstack is the most complete vendor agnostic solution for storage, network and compute services. The ability for developers to instantly spin up environments at any time is invaluable for a fully agile DevOps environment, and is well worth the effort it takes to acclimatize to Openstack.

1 http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/suse-openstack-cloud-5-to-simplify-private-cloud-management-300048721.html
2 http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/bimodal
3 http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/bimodal

cloud ,integration ,openstack ,devops

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