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Status check on OpenStack: The open source cloud has arrived

Brandon Butler | May 21, 2015
Backed by IBM, HP, Rackspace and 500 other companies, OpenStack has emerged as the open source alternative to Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud.

To help, many vendors have created distributions of the code and provide support. Other vendors offer hosted private cloud or public clouds based on OpenStack. There are more than 500 companies involved in OpenStack from Red Hat to Mirantis, which offer distributions of the code, to IBM, Rackspace, HP, Cisco offering hosted versions of it.

Deploying any cloud project whether it's OpenStack or a public cloud like AWS is a significant undertaking for any large organization. To get real value from an OpenStack private cloud requires buy-in from top-level executives, a team of architects, operators, and infrastructure teams to run it and developers who will use it, Nelson recommends.

OpenStack is growing fast, which is good because it allows the project to keep up with new developments like containers and data center orchestration technologies like Mesos and Kubernetes. But it also means the project has a new release every six months, which has led some organizations to fall behind on upgrades, or just not attempt to stay current on the releases, even with advances that have made rolling updates easier. Some users also say there are not as many integrations with legacy systems as there could be.

OpenStack has come a long way from its earliest days as a compute system developed at NASA and a storage platform from Rackspace in 2010. It's not a panacea but it is certainly a viable option.


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