Open Cloud Comes to the Enterprise

The Open Cloud

Open Cloud Comes to the Enterprise

By TMCnet Special Guest
Troy Angrignon, Vice President of Sales & Partnering, Cloudscaling
  |  August 03, 2012

Enterprise CIOs we talk to are beginning to realize that the private cloud they built to consolidate servers and run legacy applications is not the only cloud they need.

The new cloud they’re looking to build is specifically architected to run new applications designed to leverage the unique capabilities and economics of elastic infrastructure clouds like Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) (AWS).

Architecting applications for Amazon-style infrastructure is part of the emerging “DevOps” application development culture. DevOps has moved beyond the realm of internet-based, Software-as-a-Service companies like Salesforce and Facebook (News - Alert). Enterprises are beginning to appreciate the business agility, flexibility and economics DevOps makes possible.

Just how real is the shift to DevOps and cloud-ready applications? Consider the rapid rise of AWS.

According to data from GigaOM, Deepfield Networks and UBS, revenue at AWS is doubling annually and could top $2 billion this year. One-third of all Internet users hit AWS-based services at least daily. The service now runs on more than 450,000 physical servers. It’s the fourth largest CDN (behind Akamai (News - Alert), Limelight and Level3). AWS consumes more than 1.7 million IP addresses, and its S3 service houses more than 900 billion objects.

Evidence like this underscores why CIOs are looking for a private cloud that is built to support cloud-ready applications like those Amazon caters to. CIOs want the flexibility to run these applications in a public cloud environment when it makes sense, but they also want to move them to a private cloud environment when security, regulatory compliance, governance controls, network latency and cost become issues.

Open cloud infrastructure is a proven way to support cloud-ready applications in your datacenter. The options for deploying a public cloud-style infrastructure in your datacenter are, regrettably, limited:

  • Hire the team that built your current private cloud. Enterprises know how to work with them. Unfortunately, they have no experience building this new kind of cloud.
  • Build on an early open cloud platform. Some of these solutions require you to buy proprietary hardware appliances to get performance that approaches public clouds. And being handcuffed to one vendor defeats the whole idea of open cloud.
  • Build your own with OpenStack. The fastest-growing project in open source history is sometimes called the “Linux of cloud” and enjoys the backing of some big names. (Disclosure: Cloudscaling builds with OpenStack software.) But OpenStack by itself is, like Linux, great kernel technology that needs a more complete system around it.
  • Hire an OpenStack startup. A variant of the previous option is to hire one of the OpenStack startups to build a custom, one-off OpenStack cloud for you. Of course, you’re then solely responsible for maintaining and upgrading it.

Make sure that both the APIs and the underlying architecture they offer are compatible with the public cloud you might want to use for reserve capacity, so you can reliably move workloads and data back and forth.

If you’re going to build a cloud to support cloud-ready applications in your enterprise, make sure you get satisfactory answers to these questions:

  • Will I get faster time to market and iteration cycles for apps supporting new business initiatives?
  • Does it give me greater agility and simplified scaling, compared to my enterprise/legacy cloud?
  • Are capital and operating costs substantially lower than public cloud?
  • Will it give me the security and performance visibility I need?
  • Is it supported by a team that will vett new open source software releases for compatibility and reliability?

There are several approaches, and each is tailored to different enterprise needs. Get educated, and get started.

Edited by Braden Becker