Volkswagen will use Mirantis as its OpenStack distribution vendor to embrace a DevOps model and enable its developers to build and release software in a more agile way.
The move is indicative of how increasing numbers of companies in a variety of industries, notably the automotive world, are embracing digital technology to transform operations across business and IT.
Mario Müller, Volkswagen's vice president of IT infrastructure, explained that the automotive industry is shifting towards a more services-led model, which has encouraged the company to focus on agile software innovation.
"The team at Mirantis gives us a robust, hardened distribution, deep technical expertise, a commitment to the OpenStack community and the ability to drive cloud transformation at Volkswagen," he said.
"Mirantis OpenStack is the engine that lets Volkswagen's developers build and deliver software faster."
Volkswagen hopes that the open source cloud platform will cut IT costs through standardisation. OpenStack will support internal and consumer-facing apps and connect people across Volkswagen's brands such as VW, Porsche, Bentley, Skoda and Seat, as well as its dealers and suppliers.
The company evaluated several major OpenStack distribution vendors using objective criteria across 64 use cases, according to Müller.
"The Mirantis team, using Mirantis OpenStack, demonstrated the best execution rate, at 98 per cent. Mirantis was chosen because it is the only pure-play OpenStack vendor and enables Volkswagen to pick any technology around OpenStack at any point in time. Volkswagen wants to avoid a vendor lock-in at all costs," he told V3.
The decision to go with Mirantis forms part of a wider Group IT Cloud Project at the company. Müller pointed to digitalisation, ubiquitous connectivity, social media and big data as reasons for the cloud initiative.
He explained that the company's traditional IT infrastructure is hampered by its provisioning process.
"It poses many challenges to meeting our new business requirements. There is too much manual work in the process, too much reliance on proprietary hardware and we have a very time-consuming procurement process. It's vertically scalable for application development, but not designed for horizontal scale," he said.
Cloud computing can provide the company with a better approach to horizontal scale, according to Müller, as everything is automated and developers can self-service without going through operations and procurement.
"Our software is increasingly open source and we embrace an agile/DevOps development model," he said.
The company has moved to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and is aiming to have platform-as-a-service up by July 2016.
Müller said that the IaaS is for administrators and technical competence centres and not for end users.
"IaaS provides virtualised hardware - computer, networking and storage - running on Linux with root access. Connectivity is via Volkswagen's intranet. It's not yet connected to the internet. It doesn't support legacy applications and we don't yet offer central back-ups. It's available to our teams in America, Europe and Asia," he said.
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