The Stack Archive

“OpenStack is ready for the enterprise” says defiant Barcet

Fri 4 Apr 2014

At the Openstack summit in Portland, Oregon in 2013 it was clear that interest in deploying the solution is growing, but most enterprises were still holding back. The people at the front line within these organisations felt this technology’s lack of maturity is impeding its wide scale deployment, and yet they also said that it shows much promise. Some of the delegates showed their frustration in the belief that a large amount of development is still required to make it succeed.

For these reasons a number of companies don’t feel that OpenStack is ready for the enterprise, but not everyone agrees with this viewpoint. Speaking nearly a year on from that summit, at Cloud Expo Europe 2014, Nick Barcet, VP of Products at eNovance, said: “Analysts are saying that OpenStack is not ready for the enterprise, but we’re seeing that many enterprises are using it.”

He pointed out that two things happen every time there is a new shift in technology, and these are required before the wide scale adoption of a technology such as OpenStack can take place: firstly there is a need to offer some additional functionality to make it enterprise acceptable; and he rightly said that there needs to be a change of mindset in order to get any benefit from it.

It is not just an API over virtualisation. To allow for a VM approval you will delay the creation of one. This is something that is against the idea of accessing the resources much easier, against making your infrastructure as code. The human interaction is the opposite of being able to deal with infrastructure-as-code, and so enterprises need to adjust to gain the benefit of it. Change needs to happen within the enterprise, but this is likely to slowly occur over the next five years.

“We are seeing that it’s not the area in which they are investing, but it is about the challenge enterprise finds itself in. The more competition they have, the more likely they are going to adapt to the new way of thinking and new infrastructure”, he added. Yet he predicts that more companies will gradually switch to using OpenStack. In the first instance early adopters will try the technology, but in his view it should enter mainstream adoption at some point during 2015.

His company, which was created five years ago and moved away from a traditional to cloud-based hosting, has itself seen evidence that the future of OpenStack is bright. Owing to customer demand for the technology, eNovance grew over the course of a year from 20 to 120 employees. The firm was also one of the first companies to offer managed services for open source software, and he said it was one of the first organisations to “to search for a solution that would be open source, and so we selected OpenStack.”

eNovance has since then contributed code as part of its development, and it is one of the top developers of OpenStack’s Stackalytics. Barcet claims that most of OpenStack’s development occurs in the US, and he said that his company is the only European player. It mainly involves large organisations, but there are in fact 200 companies backing the project – involving 700 individual contributors. “Our biggest contribution is to the OpenStack Telemetry project, which allows customers to measure what’s happening in the cloud,” he said.

He then offered an insight into what the top services and workloads that organisations are moving to the cloud. “Moving to the cloud means having a workload you can scale horizontally by adding more machines”, he explained. Before workloads move to the cloud they need to be designed for scalability. For this reason he predicts that there will be a lot of “new generation web applications and data analytics.”

His experience suggests that the database back-end makes the difference because scalability will bottleneck as it’s not designed with this purpose in mind, but he said that technologies such as sharding allow companies to distribute data over a vast amount of servers. He therefore thinks that they are “going to enable massively scalable web applications.”

So confident is eNovance about the future of OpenStack that he reveals the company will be launching a new product in March 2014: “It’s a very simple to deploy OpenStack part that will be ready to use: the perfect OpenStack starter kit as it doesn’t require a lot of expertise because we got tired of doing proofs of concept.”

He concluded: “Companies are looking for a way to experiment quickly without throwing away their experiments once they want to go for a real production environment, and the main thing is to allow people to start small and in a way that can expand as demand grows.”


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