OpenStack has already horned in for its proponents’ expectations, the next big searches would be the area and process to run it along with the way to keep it fresh. Especially when it comes to choosing an OpenStack distribution, you find Red Hat, HP, Cisco and several others as viable options. But while going for all these options, enterprises should be alert while taking their decision.
Cloud can be considered similar to a Lego wherein one can opt for prepackaged solutions which are quick and easy in terms of deployment and one can also buy a bunch of loose blocks and design your own cloud from scratch. The prepackaged module is gaining popularity since several enterprises are still into the early days of private and hybrid cloud.
Though enterprises opt for prepackaged cloud solutions, they don’t want the vendor lock-in. Now, this in turn has given rise to some headaches for the four main branded vendors – Google, Amazon Web Services, VMware and Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this situation has given a chance for open source cloud platform, OpenStack to gain support speedily. And, due to this the OpenStack distribution providers are getting plump.
Selecting an OpenStack distribution for your enterprise deployment is a significant task and often more complicated in comparison with other users need. Prior to choosing a distribution for an organization, evaluation of technical issues like completeness of the distribution in terms of API availability and OpenStack modules is a must.
In addition, considering strategic issues is also required while choosing an OpenStack distribution. Support and impact on enterprise staffing, are the most important of these. Big system vendors can supply pre-integrated and ready to launch distribution but with a substantial price premium. Secondly, there is potential vendor lock-in that restricts from hardware platforms handling storage, networking and management tools. Those organizations that are unstaffed and under experienced with OpenStack would find this vendor lock-in challenging.
So, let’s look at how to choose an OpenStack distribution –
OpenStack distributions are classified in to two types –
- Leading, distributions come from pure software players like Red Hat depicting the success history of combining open source with enterprise support as the major provider. Another software-only OpenStack player, VMware was late in addressing the hybrid cloud market which is seen in its below expectation adoption.
Red Hat follows the Linux procedure with its OpenStack distribution and so, could be a feasible option for second-generation, expanded deployments with solid guidance on hardware platforms. This is possible only when professionals are hired or contracted to integrate skills of OpenStack.
- Second, distributions come from systems or hardware vendors like Dell, HP, Cisco and IBM. Since Dell and HP clasp the idea of cost-effective hardware they offer SDI-class alternatives as well as hyper-converged systems which are just stepping to the market. Software-defined networking (SDN) is dislocating expensive routers and switches, Cisco’s networking business is at risk. Cisco’s version of SDN is actually more into business as it’s habitually and so, won’t offer low cost. Instead, OpenStack distribution of Cisco might come with the issues of vendor lock-in.
With proprietary platforms, IBM has extensive resources and so, it should ramp the OpenStack market. If migration of legacy systems to the cloud is done, IBM could be a dominant business proponent.
Some of them would find buying OpenStack cloud’s prepackaged solution from Dell or HP as their first step. Then the next step would be continuing with that model for early OpenStack production or make a shift to IBM on white box hardware or Red Hat. White box path would be highly flexible and cheapest as the mainstream production will depend on how matured are the OpenStack skills of the enterprise.