OpenStack Helps Managed Service Providers Power the Next Generation of Enterprise Applications

One of the biggest emerging trends I see today is the expanding concept of DevOps. More and more developers are flocking to public cloud providers and helping themselves to on-demand infrastructure. They are adopting workplace cultures that transform the way they do business. Their software development teams are thriving inside transformational workplace cultures that have adopted the following core goals:

Empower teams to self-organize and perform at their best.

Remove roadblocks so that teams are unhindered by infrastructure delays.

Embrace agile methodologies in the software development lifecycle.
New generations of software and applications are designed so that the underlying components (think server, OS, and platform) are not so much budget-busting assets as single-use disposable resources. For the financially-enabled readers, think goodbye CAPEX and hello OPEX. No longer is it necessary to have redundant servers or high availability frameworks at the hardware or virtual hardware level because applications are now designed to be highly resilient, stateless, and scalable (up or down, automatically).WHO IS CHOOSING OPENSTACK?The list of businesses and organizations that are choosing OpenStack is impressive and continues to grow. Names include BMW, CERN, Comcast, NASA, the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Purdue University, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, eBay, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of others.As a managed services and technology business owner, you are also interested in staying relevant and keeping up with the fast pace of today’s computing landscape. Like the others, you also want a common platform for both public and private clouds, driven by industry standards (OpenStack is open source), and supported by more than 200 technology leaders with over 3,500 global project participants and 200,000 downloads. Your engineers, developers, cloud architects, and datacenter staff agree with adopting a platform backed by the leading technology infrastructure providers – Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, and VMware.Your software developers are still going to need a cloud platform that provides them with familiar services. Today, that means they are now accustomed to coding with software running inside traditional VMs, containers, serverless computing, database services, object storage, and APIs. These are all examples of moving up the stack and providing options to consumers.KEY BENEFITS OF OPENSTACKHow do service providers compete and win in a world dominated by big cloud providers? It’s not a problem of managing infrastructure at the hardware level. It’s about managing infrastructure at the operations level. Here are some key benefits from adopting an OpenStack model:COST-SAVINGS:You don’t need expensive proprietary name brand servers, storage, and licensing fees to build a cloud infrastructure as long as you build it with the right software.

OpenStack not only provides the software building blocks to build a private cloud, it’s also licensed under Apache 2.0, which means there are no software licensing costs.

Automate cloud maintenance routines and provision your own storage, servers, and other resources. You can automate and monitor in such a way that it will seem like your cloud is running itself.

Drive down the cost of hardware. Hardware is a commodity and intelligence has moved up the stack into software.

Ask yourself, “How can we manage more with the same human resources?” or “How can we drive down other operational costs?”
CUSTOMIZATION:In addition to the cost savings realized from IaaS, as an organization with special requirements, your teams could adopt their own infrastructure. With CDI, you can even customize your cloud environment in unique ways beyond the capabilities of any less capable public providers.VALUE-ADDED SERVICES:If IaaS is truly a break-even business (and in his OpenStack Summit session last year, Arturo Suarez of Canonical suggests it is) and becoming a commodity, then service providers must move up the stack in terms of service offerings.

Move up the stack to differentiate.

Begin offering value-added services on top of the infrastructure.
INNOVATION:Enterprises don’t like the concept of DIY (do it yourself), where essentially they’re on their own if something happens. Managed services providers cannot function like enterprises.

Service providers need to be in the trenches of emerging technologies. Providers are the ones that have to unlock the technologies, become the experts, and serve as the buffer between new technologies that enterprises aren’t willing to bet the farm on yet; however, those same enterprises would willingly consume services built on it.

As a small managed services provider, you don’t necessarily have to be the innovator. The provider can be the one that fosters innovation by providing the platforms for others to innovate.

Service providers can also innovate by altering the way they provide their services. For example, be more dynamic and cater to self-service, ease of use, quick provisioning, and all the things that cloud consumers want.