Open Source vs Proprietary Cloud: Choose Wisely

By : |November 17, 2016 1
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Open Source is becoming the de facto standard for Private Cloud implementations as business benefits and innovation far outpace proprietary platforms

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya

INDIA: BMW and Volkswagen, two of the world’s largest automakers, recently grabbed the spotlight for going the Open Source way for building their Private Clouds.

A Volkswagen spokesperson aptly summed up the move, “OpenStack is the largest Open Source project and backed by hundreds of vendors, and tens of thousands of community contributors around the world. No single proprietary vendor, over time, will be able to keep up with the innovation cycles of OpenStack’s Open Source development model.”

This undoubtedly is a clear sign of an impending future where Private Cloud infrastructures across the globe are going to be built largely on Open Source platforms. The Automakers are in fact just two among a growing list of high-profile customers who picked OpenStack for Private Cloud development. Many Fortune 100 enterprises like BMW, Disney and Walmart have implemented OpenStack for their production environments.

The scepticism, if any, that existed among enterprises for considering Open Source as a reliable platform for building Cloud infrastructures, has almost disappeared.

An increasing number of enterprises across the globe are realizing that OpenStack is a real-world enterprise-class framework for Cloud. Eighty-one per cent of senior IT professionals are planning to move or are already moving to OpenStack Private Cloud, says an independent study commissioned by SUSE.

Cost, The Primary Driver

For large enterprises that have already made huge investments on building internal infrastructure, Public Cloud is no more an economically viable option. Beyond a certain scale, it’s certainly more sensible to focus on building a Private Cloud, and use the available compute power to reallocate resources. Security, regulatory compliance and application architectural requirements also go in favour of Private Cloud.

At the same time, choosing a proprietary platform for building their Private Cloud infrastructure has zero cost benefits as it calls for huge investments. A lot of enterprises have already started getting away from expensive proprietary platforms which incur insane licencing fee, while performance issues still persist. OpenStack is an effective and lower-cost alternative to companies that want to internalize workloads and maintain control.

96 per cent of respondents, in the survey mentioned previously, believe there are business advantages to implementing an Open Source Private Cloud. The most common reasons for adopting Private Clouds were to reduce costs and/or because of budget constraints (67 per cent), and to increase agility/innovation (77 per cent). fact, the advantages of OpenStack are so obvious that even the proprietary vendors are now actively embracing Open Source. They do see more value in collaborating and cooperating with Open Source model.

Fading Scepticism

There was a time when many Indian enterprises felt that they get insurance for their Cloud by choosing proprietary platforms. It could be because they were under the impression that Open Source-based models are more of a ‘DIY’ option and are not SLA-driven. But this mindset is changing very fast and large enterprises are confident that a supported OpenStack comes with well-established SLAs.

In fact, they are realizing the perils of vendor lock-in when they actually try to exit the contract for some reason. OpenStack, on the other hand, is extremely portable and it allows the customer to change the vendor without producing and executing a two-year exit strategy.

There are however challenges that prevail while enterprises try to build the Cloud on their own based on the ‘native’ OpenStack. Skill shortages apart, this is also because such a model is intensely ‘people oriented’. If the organization loses the people who developed/customized the platform, the whole implementation experiences hurdles. This is the reason why OpenStack distributions are increasingly becoming the deployment choice for those users that remain supportive of the platform after struggling to find success with the do-it-yourself approach.

In terms of performance and efficiency, OpenStack is outpacing any proprietary platform that exists in the market. Recent industry reports from Forrester reinstate that OpenStack is easy, cheap, prevents vendor lock-in and offers self-service developer access. And mostly importantly, its adoption supports “a much larger transformation toward agility and development efficiency and is not tied to virtualization or consolidation efforts.”

As more number of enterprises take to Private Cloud, OpenStack will emerge as the de facto standard for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in the near future.

(Rajarshi Bhattacharyya is Country Head at SUSE, India. Views expressed here are of the author and CyberMedia does not necessarily endorse them.)

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  1. suckmynan123
    #1 suckmynan123 28 September, 2018, 09:44

    This is dead

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