You can predict a company’s success with OpenStack, or any Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI), through a single question. The companies that achieve positive business outcomes all give a similar response as they share the characteristic critical for success in this brave new world. And it has nothing to do with the company size, skill-sets, budgets or even the specific use cases – it’s something far more intrinsic.
Gartner releases an annual report titled The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies which rates the maturity of IT&T innovations and their relevance to business. The report covers everything from organ bio-printing to hybrid cloud and it provides a good view on the direction of technology, where investments are being made and what to keep abreast of.
And when you look at any of the reports since 2011 there is an interesting observation – OpenStack is the platform enabling one (or more accurately four) or more of these innovations every year.
Let’s think about that for a second…. since its inception, OpenStack has provided a foundation for more “emerging technologies” than any other platform or solution. Cloudbursting, Platform as a Service, Software Defined Security, Real-time Infrastructure – over 30 areas of innovation that can be evaluated, integrated and deployed via OpenStack. That is the true value of OpenStack/SDI, lowering a company’s barriers to innovation by reducing IT momentum and easing the adoption of new technologies and operational models
So, how can you predict whether a company will succeed with OpenStack/SDI? Ask the question ‘Why do you want to use it?’ Successful companies answer with a response that invariably boils down to ‘Because we have to. Because we need to change’. They recognise that OpenStack/SDI is far more than cloud or webscale, they can create wide-ranging competitive differentiators over proprietary and off the shelf solutions.
This is not to say that these companies live in a world of rainbows and unicorns. The shift to a ‘responsive enterprise’ with an N speed architecture and cloud native applications is a big step needing investment in technology, people and processes. And companies that are ill prepared are often unsuccessful – it is hard to change the tyres on a car travelling 100 miles per hour. So at Aptira we increasingly have companies ask for a more measured approach, wanting OpenStack/SDI delivered as a service so they can focus on higher value innovation rather than platform retooling.
We help these companies with an on-premise, API driven set of capabilities delivered as a managed service – an OpenStack/SDI Innovation Pod. We manage an underlying platform that customers control though reliable and feature rich APIs to create & evaluate high value technologies such as SDN, SDS, Hybrid cloud and big data. Innovation Pods provide a low opportunity cost and risk free opportunity for customers to down the path of SDI for faster outcomes and real world SDI experience for future planning. What may’ve taken a year and millions of dollars with a ‘big bang’ approach can now be done in a fraction of the time and cost.
All areas of Information Technology are going through a ‘transformation’, trying to replace high cost legacy solutions with agile business relevant applications. The industry is predicting that Software Defined Networking and Security will be the two use-cases that will shift the perception of OpenStack from web-scale cloud to into the enterprise. They have featured on the Emerging Technologies hype cycle for some time and several companies have chosen to implement SDN/SDS programs. They are however only two of the 30+ emerging technologies that are available and supported by OpenStack/SDI.
And that’s the crux – OpenStack isn’t an alternative cloud product or infrastructure with a lower TCO to proprietary solutions, it’s about adopting a new delivery model for IT. OpenStack is innovation, enabling companies to build operational capabilities and technology models that don’t exist today through technology and cultural pragmatism. With the support of 40,000 foundation members and 600 IT&T companies using the platform for the ‘next big thing’, OpenStack and is, and will continue to be, and enabler for IT innovation. And now that these capabilities are available without costs and risks of the upfront investment, companies can more easily take advantage of the opportunities coming from an integrated network, platform and application.