This article is part of our Essential Guide: Essential guide to cloud management

OpenStack accelerates into production environments

People are no longer just dabbling in the OpenStack private cloud – the OpenStack Foundation has found that many users are starting to undertake production work

Almost two thirds of OpenStack users have now deployed the open source private cloud technology in production environments.

According to the OpenStack Foundation survey of 1,600 users, organisations are using OpenStack application programming interfaces (APIs) as the standard for enterprise infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

In the survey, 97% of community members surveyed said “standardising on the same open platform and APIs that power a global network of public and private clouds” was one of their top five considerations in choosing OpenStack.

OpenStack enables businesses to operate both legacy systems and cloud-native apps through a single framework. OpenStack claimed this is increasingly important, especially to enterprise users. “OpenStack is unique in its ability to support organisations managing legacy IT workloads, while also adopting agile IT systems to drive competitive advantage through rapid iteration of software development,” the OpenStack Foundation noted.

“Being a flexible framework to build on is the most important aspect of the OpenStack platform,” said one user from a global financial institution.

“Also, being able to support both traditional and cloud-native workloads is very important because large enterprises don't have the luxury of dropping their legacy applications and forklifting them into the microservices-type designs from day one. The benefits of the cloud are too great to only allow new workloads onto the platform.”

Container technology continues to be a major interest for the OpenStack community, earning the most interest among emerging technologies, with 70% of respondents reporting interest in containers as a part of their OpenStack projects.

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Open source attracts users

OpenStack appears to remain a popular choice among technology companies. Technology firms were represented by 68% of users surveyed. Telecoms firms were next, with 14% of respondents, while academia was represented by 9%.

Clearly in technology businesses, open source is attractive as free software. But organisations in all sectors are turning to open source technologies such as OpenStack to avoid proprietary lock-in. The survey found that 92% of those asked said they used OpenStack to avoid supplier lock-in.

Even when the cost of a premium support contract is added, analyst Gartner noted that open source offers major saving, compared with proprietary software. The other big benefit of open source technologies is the community, which often provides software updates for esoteric problems far quicker than a commercial support contract. Since the code and the remedy is shared, everyone in the community can benefit.

According to the OpenStack Foundation, the most frequent theme emerging was the value of community and collaboration: “Users, upstream developers, app developers, and other contributors love being able to interact with a broad and diverse community, and connect with each other to collaborate and share ideas,” the foundation noted.

Half of those asked said that one business driver of using OpenStack was that it enabled them to attract top technical talent by participating in an active global technology community.

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, some organisations, like William Hill, actively use the github open source community to spot technical talent.

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