Prior to moving into the role of Technical Marketing Manager for Red Hat’s Partner Solutions Initiative, I was responsible for selling the Red Hat Cloud Portfolio for Mid Market North America. I was the sole Architect covering the entire country. I was the first in the company with this title covering this market segment. People thought I was crazy and it was crazy that we would put focus into this market but I over achieved what was set in front of me.
Pubic cloud is just so easy and cheap, how could anyone selling “cloud” survive in this environment? Public cloud is as simple as swiping a credit card and you have a VM, but there are some use case that public cloud providers can’t solve. Below I tried to remove the industry focus terminology, because OpenStack is more than Telco and HPC. This is how I would pitch the advantage of Private Cloud to a CxO.
According to the latest figures from IDC, outlined by Network World , server shipments increased 20.7% YOY in quarter 1 of 2018. Revenue rose 38.6%. Let’s see if these trends continue. That’s an amazing growth rate for such a large industry.
The last thing I want to touch on from a personal note; I don’t think the kubernetes on OpenStack focus the OpenStack Foundation has held is as helpful or profitable for them as a whole. Whenever I see them demoed together kubernetes is doing all the interesting bits and OpenStack is just the pipes carrying the water. I can perform the same kubernetes demo swapping out OpenStack for public cloud or virtualization for that matter. Kubernetes could be a larger part of the demo and discussion of it’s aaS (as a Service) projects it uses, but Kubernetes steals the limelight. My $0.02.
Self-Managed CapEx Cloud
I have frequently run into customers that have business process problems with OpEx expenditures. Employee salaries are out of OpEx budget. If they go with AWS, they may literally be putting people out of a job or losing additional head count. I’ve encountered a customer that based their customer payment rates based on OpEx expenditures. This meant that they could spend $10,000 in CapEx and not bat an eye, but if they incurred $100 more of OpEx a month, that would ultimately make their the bills for their customers larger.
A typical customer buys cloud services by the drink, OpenStack along with a managed hosting partner or OEM allows that same customer to buy it by the pitcher. Make the cost a predictable CapEx expense. You choose how utilized you want your environment to be and have a defined cost for adding new resources to the environment. Help CIO and CFO sleep better at night knowing what the cost will be and not tossing and turning because their AWS bill looks like a phone number.
My opinion is based on the sheer number of companies doing managed OpenStack and Managed Red Hat OpenStack. Rackspace, IBM Bluemix, and Cisco Metacloud are hosting Red Hat OpenStack as a service. Dell, HPE, Super Micro, Cisco, NEC and Lenovo all have reference architectures for Red Hat OpenStack and may of them will do the racking, installing and configuring of Red Hat OpenStack before wheeling into your data center.
API Integrated Infrastructure
Customers are using external applications to provision both infrastructure and application, so APIs become the integration points. Common examples of this is using a IT service manager, a CI pipeline, or an orchestration tool as part of the application pipeline. A typical consumer of cloud services wants to provision compute, networking and storage all using an API, allowing them to use a familiar development language and tools. You can choose Ansible, heat templates, puppet modules or a number of other tools but you must choose something to scale your Development and Operations team. OpenStack offers an API-first approach to all the components, which virtualization like RHV or VMWare doesn’t. RHV offers only python bindings that don’t seem complete. For example, I don’t know if you could provision a new lun on your NetApp connected to RHV, via the API.
This comes back to everything being API driven. The customer can use OpenStack GUI, CLI or Restful API to provision resources. We also allow for Hyper-convergence of Compute and Storage on the same box. Cinder and Swift have connectors into so many different storage systems it becomes really convenient to manage resources in multiple ways and multiple boxes, but though a common tool. You don’t need to rely on expensive SANs and proprietary storage systems.
IaaS provider / Managed Service Provider (MSP)
If we have a customer managing infrastructure for their customers, OpenStack is a good model for this, because of the integration capabilities. This was a popular use case several years ago and many start ups and smaller integrator thought they could compete with the likes of Amazon or Azure. *Cough* Rackspace *Cough* Mirantis *Cough*. I think this is possible with OpenStack, but I think the investment required to start that business is cost prohibitive, who wants to spend Billions of dollars a year to find out? Didn’t think so.
Thinking on a smaller scale with more reasonable expectations, I think this use case has a lot of time left in them. I was working with a company sending satellites into space. In 2018 they intended to send 50 missions into space, each getting their own multi-purpose cloud computing platform to support any application driven workload the future throws at them. I was working with a company that is using OpenStack to deliver their own Software as a Service to internal and external customers. I have many more use case that are actually running production/workloads. This is what OpenStack was originally designed to do.
NFV as a Service
This is our sweet spot within Red Hat OpenStack. We have many telcos coming to us to do advanced NFV functions at bare metal speeds. However, I don’t think this is just a carrier use case. If you are running a hybrid cloud, having a platform that supports your specific NFV implementation in the public and private clouds opens the decision making process and fits well into a cloud exit plan.
Since everything is API driven and with the release of OSP 10, we now have composeable roles. We can scale any service (like networking) without having to scale other resources (Identity). RHV-M is a “fat” application and can’t be broken out to scale independent parts.
I hope this helps give you some ideas and that OpenStack isn’t “dead”. I’m interested to hear what you think.
One thought on “OpenStack Use Cases”
“Pubic cloud” (;