Why OpenStack is the Platform of Choice for Enterprises to Win with Cloud

By Scott Crenshaw, SVP of Strategy, Rackspace

Scott Crenshaw, SVP of Strategy, Rackspace

In today’s rapidly changing, instant-access world, organizations must be able to provide their customers with a Facebook-like experience in order to remain competitive and grow their businesses. At the same time, these organizations must control costs, aggressively maintain data privacy, and adhere to the strict laws, regulations and policies that exist in their industries.

"The only way we could accomplish the change was by having strong alignment at the leadership level, a culture shift and a solid execution plan"

As cloud computing continues to mature and prove itself as a profitable enabler of growth, enterprises are adopting cloud strategies to increase their speed to market, improve software delivery cycles and lower costs. Not surprisingly, OpenStack is fast emerging as the preferred platform for enterprise cloud infrastructure. Companies like Wal-Mart, Disney and BMW are just some of the notable Fortune 100 companies using OpenStack for production workloads.

The OpenStack market will generate $1.25 billion in 2015, and is projected to grow at a 40 percent CAGR, according to the 451 Research OpenStack Pulse 2014 report. And in a brief earlier this month, Forrester Research called OpenStack, “the dominant platform for private cloud.”

But let’s look beyond the big name brands and the idea of “free” open source software tools for cloud computing for just a moment, and take a closer look at why enterprises are choosing OpenStack versus proprietary platforms. We’ll also discuss how organizations using OpenStack are well positioned to seize upon the next big software market disruptor—containers.

Why enterprises are choosing OpenStack

OpenStack has evolved tremendously since NASA and Rackspace launched it in 2010. Maturing code and governance continue to drive adoption among enterprises looking at OpenStack as a solution to their business problems, and it’s backed by some of the world’s leading technology infrastructure providers like Cisco, EMC, IBM and Intel.Wal-Mart uses OpenStack as the foundation for its global eCommerce platform, and it continues to gain adoption across a variety of industries, including film and media, retail, finance and insurance, consumer goods and manufacturing.

Five years and eleven releases later, OpenStack is demonstrating the completeness, robustness and capability that enterprise-level CIOs need to address the growing requirements of their businesses. With features such as flexibility, modularity, lower cost, openness, and no vendor lock-in, makes OpenStack so appealing.

Organizations can deploy OpenStack as a public or private cloud or in support of a hybrid model across both enterprise and public cloud data centers. OpenStack also gives organizations the ability to manage all deployment models—bare metal, virtualization (using all leading hypervisors), and soon containers—with one platform. This flexibility is critical for enterprise clouds

Open source and multivendor support is a better choice for enterprise clouds

The choice of an enterprise cloud standard is a decision that will affect an organization’s competitiveness and agility for the long term—perhaps five or even 10 years. This is a long time for a company to be locked into the feature roadmap and prioritization choices of a single source software vendor.

Just as Linux became the enterprise standard for mainstream workloads, so is OpenStack becoming the standard for cloud platforms. And unlike Linux, OpenStack in the enterprise is not controlled by one vendor or delivery model.

As an open platform with a vibrant community, OpenStack harnesses the innovation of more than 500 companies, significantly increasing a company’s access to new features and capabilities. And, should an enterprise’s chosen OpenStack vendor fail to deliver the necessary features and capabilities, the cost of switching to another vendor is lower than with closed source software. Having a credible option to switch vendors (something that’s often impractical when closed source cloud platforms are selected) gives organizations significant pricing leverage for the long term.

Enterprises using OpenStack are well positioned to seize upon the next big software industry disruptor— containers

Developer productivity and agility are crucial to organizations’ future success at winning, serving and retaining customers. The future of the cloud—containers— will make it even easier for businesses to save money and increase efficiency and competitiveness.

Containers allow enterprises to run more applications reliably on less hardware. They enable portability to move workloads dependably from one computing environment to another. Just as virtualization was a game changer for enterprise infrastructure, containers stand to be the next major industry disruption, and OpenStack is the ideal infrastructure to capitalize on this opportunity.

OpenStack provides a single control plane for managing containerized applications, virtualized applications and bare metal applications. With one standard, one set of tooling, one set of APIs and one platform on which to train employees, enterprises can easily manage applications of all types, across all major deployment platforms. Containers will be a core part of future IT infrastructure, and OpenStack is the easiest, fastest and most reliable way to realize their benefits within the enterprise.

Win with cloud

The organizations that lead in today’s rapidly changing marketplace are those that innovate to exceed customer expectations. Whether they choose to adopt OpenStack independently or work with an experienced OpenStack partner, software development and the anticipated explosion of containers for fast and reliable software delivery make OpenStack an ideal choice for enterprises looking to win with cloud.