News & Insights for the AI Journey|Sunday, June 16, 2019
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App Development Said to Propel OpenStack 

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Cloud-native application development is among the drivers of OpenStack production deployments, which more than doubled over the last year, according to a new vendor survey.

The survey results released this week by OpenStack leader Red Hat Inc. found that 43 percent of those polled last month said they have deployed the cloud platform in production, up from 16 percent a year ago. Among other things, the increase reflects efforts over the last year by Red Hat and others to address OpenStack complexity and deployment hassles that have hindered adoption of the open-source platform.

Other observers have noted that the steep learning curve for deployment OpenStack is being addressed as more certified OpenStack engineers come online. Hence, the resulting scaling could yield savings down the line in terms of metrics like labor costs.

Meanwhile, the company offered more evidence that application container adoption is among the drivers of OpenStack deployments. Red Hat said Tuesday (Oct. 25) that the Spanish banker Grupo Santander (NYSE: SAN) would use its OpenShift container platform. The partners claimed the deal represents one of the first production deployments of the Kubernetes container orchestrator running on OpenStack.

The Spanish banking group's IT unit, Produban, operates 10 datacenters in four countries.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and other container proponents point to these early OpenStack deployments as evidence that use cases like application development are driving production deployments. For instance, the OpenStack survey found that two-third of respondents are using or plan to use platform-as-a-service offerings with their OpenStack deployments. That "shows the combined growth in interest of these complementary technologies," the company asserted.

The survey also found that built-in cloud management tools aren't making the grade for private or hybrid cloud deployments. Hence, the survey notes, operators are increasingly turning to third-party management tools to help monitor workload performance and other could cloud resources.

Along with a growing need for technical support of OpenStack deployments, the Red Hat survey found that hybrid cloud adopters want the ability the shift virtualized and other workloads across OpenStack and other infrastructure. Sixty-seven percent of those polled rated workload portability as a key feature of an OpenStack distribution. Those workloads include a growing percentage of existing virtual machines, new "cloud-optimized" tasks and a steady shift toward cloud-native and container applications.

The Red Hat survey of about 150 IT managers along with other market research make the case that OpenStack is moving beyond early teething problems linked to its complexity and is now ready for prime time. Similar arguments are being made about related application container deployments.

"There are distinct needs that still [must] be addressed, namely unified management and ensuring strong support for Linux containers, but overall, OpenStack is now beyond the proof-of-concept phase and ready to support mission-critical operations," the Red Hat survey concluded.

Market watchers note that recent efforts to ease installation and management of OpenStack distributions could make small efficiency improvements easier to achieve, reducing the deployment learning curve and speeding the return on OpenStack investments.

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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