Building an OpenStack-based cloud offers numerous benefits for organizations looking to adopt a cloud computing infrastructure. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges that come along with it. In this section, we will briefly explore the benefits and challenges of building an OpenStack-based cloud and what to keep in mind before starting.
OpenStack is one of the world’s most popular cloud computing platforms, growing at an alarming rate. Part of the reason for its success is the fact that the software is both free and open-source, meaning that anyone can use it and they can share their own customisations and developments under the same sort of open-source license.
Developed in 2010 as a joint project between Rackspace Hosting and NASA, the software platform is usually managed through either a web-based dashboard, command-line tools or a RESTful API. In the years since its initial launch, over 500 more companies have joined Rackspace and NASA, and the software continues to be heavily influenced by ongoing collaboration.
Part of the reason for this is that users and advocates are encouraged to participate in future development. An entire community has developed around the OpenStack cloud computing platform, and they work together in six-month cycles to release new iterations of the software.
Building your OpenStack Cloud
Deploying an OpenStack cloud environment demands knowledge and preparation, which in turn requires a lot to discuss. At this stage, we are trying to understand what benefits OpenStack can bring and what are the challenges to face. Let us start with the main benefits:
Scalability: A highly scalable cloud infrastructure enables you to easily add and remove resources as needed. This makes it easier for organizations to grow and adapt to changing needs.
Flexibility: The highly flexible architecture allows integrations with different technologies and platforms. This helps organizations adopt new technologies and expand their capabilities.
Cost-effectiveness: As an open-source platform, OpenStack reduces the costs associated with proprietary software. Organizations can save on licensing and maintenance fees, freeing up resources for other projects.
High Availability: Built-in features ensure the high availability of resources and services. This makes it easier for organizations to maintain high levels of uptime and avoid downtime.
Community Support: OpenStack has a large and active community of developers and users, providing support and continual development. Organizations can find help and resources when needed.
The benefits are great, but at the same time, multiple challenges need to be considered while building an OpenStack-Based cloud. Here are the main ones:
Complexity: The architecture to build an OpenStack environment is complex, making deployment and maintenance difficult for non-experts. It may require investing in training and expertise to ensure successful deployment and operation.
Compatibility: Integrating different OpenStack components and ensuring compatibility with existing systems can be challenging. Additional resources and tools to ensure a smooth integration process might be needed.
Documentation: With the vast number of features and options, OpenStack’s documentation and learning resources can be overwhelming. Organizations may need to invest in additional resources to help them understand and utilize the platform.
Upgrades: Upgrading to new versions of OpenStack can be difficult and may require significant effort, especially to avoid disruptions and data loss.
Performance: In large deployments, OpenStack can lead to performance issues in large deployments as it tends to be resource-intensive. Investments in additional hardware and resources to ensure optimal performance might still be needed.
Building an OpenStack-based cloud can offer numerous benefits, however, it is important to be aware of the challenges that come along with it. Carefully consider your needs and resources when deciding whether to build an OpenStack-based cloud or not. OpenCloudification is here to help you in the process.
Deploying OpenStack – When Consider It
The decision of deploying an OpenStack infrastructure should be based on the organization’s specific needs, resources, and capabilities. Alternatives to the deployment can always be considered, like renting the infrastructure from a third-party hosted OpenStack environment or even opting for a different open-source cloud, or a public cloud provider (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.). While there might be exceptions, the deployment (or not) of an OpenStack environment or any other private cloud, is usually connected to at least one of the following scenarios:
Companies considering deploying their own OpenStack infrastructure:
- Large enterprises with complex IT infrastructure and a need for high customization and control over the cloud environment.
- Companies with high computing needs, such as scientific research, big data, or artificial intelligence.
- Organizations with a strong IT team with expertise in cloud computing and open-source technology.
Companies considering renting OpenStack infrastructure from a third-party company:
- Small and medium-sized businesses with limited IT resources and expertise.
- Companies with low computing needs or those that primarily use cloud computing for basic tasks such as file storage and email.
- Organizations that prioritize convenience and ease of use over customization and control.
Companies that shouldn’t even consider OpenStack:
- Companies with low IT budgets.
- Organizations with limited technical expertise and no plan for investing in training and support.
- Companies with strict regulatory requirements which cannot ensure compliance with regulations in a cloud infrastructure.
OpenStack is complex and occasionally confusing, but it’s rewarding once you get it up and running. OpenCloudification can help identify your benefits and potential challenges. Some examples of the key challenges we will address within OpenCloudification:
- Installation challenges
- Training & Documentation
- Upgrading OpenStack
- Long-term support
- Maintenance challenges