OpenStack: Ready for more enterprise adoption?

Forrester Research acknowledges the issues with OpenStack in enterprise cloud deployments but tells companies to suck it up and jump on the bandwagon.

OpenStack is ready for enterprise deployment, but there are rough spots that is likely to relegate it to new workloads and self-service developer use, according to Forrester Research.

Given the week's news around the cloud platform it's clear that OpenStack has some serious momentum. The catch is that enterprise giants are taking open source code and wrapping proprietary tools around it.

Despite it's immaturity in some areas, OpenStack doesn't have any showstoppers for deployment, argued Forrester analyst Lauren Nelson in a research note.

The bottom line goes like this:

All software has its issues. Open source efforts typically suffer from transparency where issues and bugs get blown out of proportion. OpenStack adopters are fully aware of this and continue forward regardless.

According to Forrester's surveys, 11 Fortune 100 firms---including Best Buy, BMW and Wal-Mart---are using OpenStack in cloud production deployments. The catch is that OpenStack can't be the orchestrator across the data center.

Forrester noted that "rarely does one place OpenStack in front of legacy or traditional workloads in lieu of a proprietary private cloud suite.

For new workloads, OpenStack has more play.

Special Feature

The 21st Century Data Center

More than ever, data centers run the world, but many of them need a 21st century reboot. Today’s data centers have to be more efficient, redundant, and flexible than ever. We examine when and how to best run your own data center versus when to outsource to the cloud or a service provider, and when to take a hybrid approach.

Read More

The driving force behind OpenStack deployment is that enterprises want to avoid lock-in with one vendor. As a result, OpenStack is following a similar open source path with small workloads going with the new platform and then data center share expanding from there.

The week in OpenStack: OpenStack Foundation opens the doors on community sharing tool | How Walmart uses OpenStack to deliver its 'everyday low prices' | IBM launches OpenStack services | OpenStack and Linux Foundations plan OpenStack skills certification | OpenStack's new testing regime aims to end interoperability woes | Mirantis aims for OpenStack out of the box with pre-built appliances

For now though there are some issues. Among them:

  • OpenStack still has downtime issues.
  • Enterprises will have a tough time keeping up with releases and updates to OpenStack.
  • OpenStack reboots the network interface repeatedly.
  • Provisioning more than 50 virtual machines is a problem.
  • Adopters of OpenStack need four to six months to get the drill down.
  • Security requires due diligence with OpenStack.
  • And vendors are on the OpenStack bandwagon with a proprietary bent. Forrester noted:
No vendor is in this community for its greater good. They view participation as a vehicle to generate revenue. Contributions, summit sessions, and membership are all ways in which vendors market their own products and services. Be aware that each participating vendor adds proprietary extensions to establish its own distribution as the superior OpenStack choice for customers.

Add it up and it's unclear that OpenStack can be your cloud manager. But starting small will get you into the OpenStack pool. To Forrester, it's a good time to make the leap.