E-Handbook:

Is OpenStack enterprise-ready?

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OpenStack's enterprise prospects rely on IT's chops

The question of whether OpenStack enterprise deployments can work comes down to the skill level of in-house IT administrators.

Open source options often suffer stronger scrutiny than their closed-code brethren, in part because they lack a dedicated support department. Linux is still not a widely used enterprise operating system, and open source productivity suites don't have nearly the adoption rate of their major competitor, Microsoft Office. OpenStack for private cloud deployments faces the same question marks from enterprise IT departments. But what makes open source options work -- whether it's a cloud platform, a desktop OS or a word processing application -- is having the administrative chops to go without vendor support.

If your company employs IT admins with deep knowledge of managing an open source cloud, then OpenStack could be the right fit. The modules and services improve with each OpenStack release, and they can support a robust private cloud today. User-friendliness has room for improvement, but it's on track to get better in the Pike, Queens and Rocky releases.

Companies that don't have the in-house expertise to manage potential OpenStack enterprise problems can turn to the versions of the open source cloud platform from vendors such as Cisco and Red Hat, which have additional features and offer support. Additionally, the community around open source offerings such as OpenStack can step up to help troubleshoot deployment and management challenges. And there are endless resources on the web for learning more about building a private cloud with OpenStack, including articles about which modules do what, what the OpenStack roadmap looks like and quick-and-dirty tips for specific services such as Swift.

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