MOUNTAIN VIEW: OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce shared with attendees at the OpenStack Silicon Valley conference his insights on how to approach a successful implementation of the cloud computing framework.
Bryce said in his keynote address to the conference held at California's Computer History Museum that he has found from dealing with customers that there are four typical patterns for a successful path to a production implementation of OpenStack, although he went on to list five.
The first is to start with a specific focus. Organisations that followed this approach sought out people in their organisation who stood to benefit from the advantages that OpenStack offers, and used them as privileged users to pilot its introduction. Such employees typically become evangelists for the platform and promote its adoption in the rest of the organisation.
The second path to successful implementation is to start thinking like a service provider, specifically in looking at how to horizontally scale-out services, according to Bryce.
"In a cloud, you are going to end up with all sorts of abstract services running, so you have to get used to the fact that you won't have as much insight or direct control over what is running on your infrastructure," he said.
Thirdly, many organisations that have successfully shepherded an OpenStack cloud into production use did so by adopting a cloud-preferred or cloud-first policy for new applications and services.
"Put a stake in the ground and tell your users that the preferred model going forwards is the cloud," Bryce said. He quoted the vice president of engineering at TD Bank in the US as saying: "If they can't build it on the cloud, they need to get my express permission to obtain a physical server, which is pretty difficult to get."
The fourth piece of advice may seem obvious, but firms should have a clear and legitimate reason for starting to build an OpenStack cloud.
"You can't go and build a private cloud just because it seems like a cool idea. The companies that have been successful have had a clear reason, whether that's cost-cutting, faster time to market, or breaking down silos in the infrastructure," Bryce said. "You also need to make it clear to your teams why you are doing this."
Bryce's final piece of advice is that companies adopting OpenStack as the basis for a private cloud infrastructure should treat it as a platform for innovation.
"OpenStack has become a framework for computing that lets you plug in commercial and open source options for virtualisation, storage and networking, which is a key benefit for users," he said.
"What that points to is that OpenStack operates as an integration engine that can take different types of hardware and software, and integrate them into a unified platform that users can operate applications and services on top of."
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