This is a question that came up which made me wonder why does the enterprise really need an open source cloud platforms like Openstack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus, etc. What I tend to hear is that our IT needs to be more like AWS, Rackspace or Azure but what does that really mean? When I dissect that response here is what I think about the open source cloud platform question in the enterprise. I make these statements purely from my experience and by defining the “enterprise” as the internal organizations of a business.
What I hear when someone says they want their enterprise IT to be more like xyz cloud provider is that they would like to be more agile when it comes to the ability to consume IT services and they would like to do it at a lower cost. And if that’s the case, how is this any different from what the business has always asked for from IT? I don’t think the IT consumers in the enterprise cares whether there’s fill in the blank _____ open source cloud platform on the backend or not. What I think most IT professionals do is think that because AWS can offer these services and solutions in a customer centric way that, enterprise IT should be doing exactly what the cloud providers are doing and implement some fill in the blank _____ open source cloud platform. With that in mind, the question for the enterprise should then be: “Is that the right approach?”.
I don’t think it is in most cases because the consumer of those resources are not the same, are bound by different rules and in most cases I would say it’s a completely different business models. Then theres the technology that drives the open source cloud platform.
Does your IT have the staff and experience to deploy, manage and maintain whatever solution you put in?
Do you go with a vendor solution that’s based on an open source cloud platform or not?
Is your IT staff primarily experienced in Microsoft on the operating system side and development side of things?
I’d assume your IT environment already consists of VMware and/or Microsoft virtualization solutions so what happens to it?
What use cases do you use the open source cloud platform for in the enterprise? Development, Staging, Production, All or mix?
Would it be better to just go the hybrid cloud model instead?
Would it be better to just augment what you already have with something like vCloud Automation Center (VCAC)?
There should be answers to those common questions but these are just a few. It’s always better to measure twice then cut once. What I think will be most beneficial for that enterprise IT who is looking to be more like AWS, is better insight and orchestration. By getting these two areas in check, IT would get themselves into a position where they can be more agile and lower cost by injecting automation and orchestration into their workflow. Being able to deploy infrastructure fast for enterprise IT can have a downside though. I’m sure most can remember the term “vm sprawl” as a bad thing. Can internal IT support the growth and faster paced consumption model when their not an Amazon?
Up to this point you probably think I’m against open source cloud platforms but I’m definitely NOT. Any good cloud platform, open source or not, will include orchestration and insight among other things to aid in a more agile way of consuming IT infrastructure. My point was to get people thinking a bit deeper into this movement. I just think we should answer the question of “Why?” before implementing anything into production. Whats your take?