Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, September 17, 2021

OpenStack Deployment, Complexity Concerns Persist 

The OpenStack cloud-computing platform is making inroads in the datacenter where an industry survey found that 30 percent of early adopters are using it to support projects or for production workloads. Roughly the same percentage of respondents to the recent survey said they are evaluating the open-source cloud technology, primarily as a way of offsetting pricey public cloud alternatives.

Tool vendors are publishing OpenStack adoption surveys that address complaints that the cloud platform remains complex and has proven difficult to install, requiring much configuring and customizing.

The latest comes from Talligent, an OpenStack and hybrid cloud management provider. The company's "State of OpenStack" report asserts that once the platform is installed, users find they can expand quickly beyond development. Over the next year, for example, testing and quality assurance for OpenStack deployment is expected to double.

Despite teething problems during installation, respondents said the key selling point for OpenStack was saving on operational costs. Sixty-one percent of respondents currently adopting OpenStack said the cloud-computing platform represented a viable alternative to more costly public cloud options.

Enterprise IT executives were divided on the key issues of OpenStack platform stability and whether it is becoming easier to manage. "Evaluators of OpenStack believe that complexity and difficulty of deployment are decreasing, while users of OpenStack are more likely to rate that complexity and difficulty of deployment are increasing," the survey found.

Along with a lack of operational tools, other challenges identified in the OpenStack survey included security concerns. Just over one-quarter of respondents cited an inadequate security framework while 23 percent flagged the lack of operational tools as the biggest challenged posed by OpenStack.

The study also counters the prevailing view that enterprises are embracing hybrid cloud strategies as a way to leverage public cloud flexibility while retaining control of sensitive applications and data. Talligent said more than half (54 percent) of respondents expect to stick with private clouds over the next five years while just 14 percent said they would adopt a mix of public and private cloud deployments through the end of the decade.

While the cost of public clouds was most often cited as a reason for adopting OpenStack, improved cloud computing performance and "consolidation benefits" also ranked high among survey respondents. Ease of deployment ranked last on the list of motivations.

Commented one survey respondent: "The migration to an OpenStack platform is complex and requires a lot of architectural planning that is always underestimated." Another added that the biggest challenge was "installation complexity for those who use it for the first time, even by following documentation." Others cited difficulty in finding IT talent to manage and operate OpenStack deployments.

Asked whether large IT vendors are pushing the OpenStack platform in the right direction, potential users again emphasized deployment hurdles. “The lack of operational tooling coupled with the reality of deployment tools really needs to get solved to decrease the complexity as well as assist not only deploying but also supporting OpenStack," one survey participant noted.

Talligent, Austin, Texas, commissioned the OpenStack adoption study that surveyed 647 virtualization and cloud executives across a range of global industries during February 2016. The company's Openbook tool helps deploy production-ready OpenStack clouds with an emphasis on easing deployment and boosting users' visibility into cloud costs, resource allocation and utilization.

Meanwhile, Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), the vendor who helped develop OpenStack, unveiled the next generation of its bare metal cloud servers running on the cloud platform. The company said Thursday (March 10) the latest version of its OnMetal cloud servers would improve connections between public clouds and dedicated hardware to speed hybrid cloud adoption. The new servers also target workloads such as Cassandra distributed database management, Docker containers and Spark running on Windows and Linux, Rackspace noted.


About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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