Cloud Computing is a dynamic market space and the next hot technology changes frequently. At this point, OpenStack is garnering an impressive level of excitement as the leading open source cloud framework, but organizations compelled by its promise still struggle to deploy and realize its potential in production environments.
Aside from questions of its maturity (which are widely discussed elsewhere), there are three areas where OpenStack does not provide what IT shops need:
- A powerful, flexible UI – Horizon (OpenStack’s UI) is functional and clean, but extremely basic. More critically, personalization and customization of the UI requires that IT shops hire Python-Django experts to write their own models, views, and templates to change the user experience. This is both a costly effort and a distraction from the core goals of the IT organizations.
- Features that provide high-level business value – if your organization wants to keep track of the cost incurred by different business units, manage pools of software licenses for applications deployed, report on resource usage over time for different organizations, or assign quotas to organizations, allowing them to subdivide that quota amongst child organizations, these are all custom engineering efforts on top of OpenStack.
- A unifying layer over disparate technologies – today’s IT shops are rarely homogenous in their use of any class of technology. A shop may have multiple virtualization technologies (ex. VMware & Xen), multiple config management/server automation technologies (ex. Chef & BladeLogic), as well as physical & virtual environments, public and private clouds, and even different distributions/implementations of OpenStack. Rather than expose users to a mind-boggling plethora of technologies to work with, a single top-layer is needed to coordinate between these technologies and abstract these into a unified, self-service portal for requesting & managing resources and reporting on their usage. This unifying layer prevents lock-in to any one of the technologies below it, allowing IT shops the liberty of switching between technologies without impacting end users.
Some distributions of OpenStack seek to solve a subset of the problems above, but they introduce additional lock-in and risk – what if you chose an OpenStack distribution that turns out to not be the winner of that race? This mistake would impact all IT users unless there was a layer above for users to interact with.
OpenStack is a strong technology with a bold future, but it is most powerful when paired with a technology like CloudBolt C2, which fills in all the gaps above, provides the functionality and simplicity that IT shops need, and integrates tightly with OpenStack (as well as other cloud frameworks, virtualization technologies, and config management products). At CloudBolt, we believe that great flexibility and power do not inherently need to expose great complexity to the end user. This philosophy is evident in the user experience of CloudBolt C2, and in the elated feedback we receive from our customers.