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Q&A: The Difficulties of Deploying OpenStack and How Ubuntu is Addressing Those Issues

OpenStack, which recently turned five years old, has quickly emerged as one of the leading cloud platforms.  However, despite its popularity, it's still widely known for being hard to install and deploy.

But, installations and deployments don't often fail as a result of OpenStack itself; more often, it's due to the amount of time and resources it takes to get it up and running.  And, aside from tech-savvy early adopters, most operators with minimal cloud configuration experience find deploying, scaling and operating OpenStack overwhelming.

So, for smaller teams with limited resources looking to deploy OpenStack, what is the secret sauce to success?  To learn more, I spoke with Mark Baker, Ubuntu Server and Cloud Product Manager at Canonical.  

VMblog:  Why is OpenStack getting so much traction?

Mark Baker:  Organizations are starting to understand the need for flexible open source infrastructure as a service platforms. OpenStack is the leading open source cloud platform with the backing of many leading technology vendors such as Intel, IBM, HP, Oracle, Canonical and many more. Enterprises and carriers see OpenStack as a way to deliver scale out on premise cloud based applications whilst minimizing the risk of locking to a particular vendor. The rapid pace of development ensures that OpenStack will remain one of the most feature rich cloud platforms that end users can take advantage of.

VMblog:  What are the main advantages of building an OpenStack cloud on Ubuntu?

Baker:  Ubuntu has been the development operating system for OpenStack since the very beginning of the OpenStack project. The release cycles of OpenStack and Ubuntu are aligned, both releasing new versions in April and October. The majority of OpenStack deployments are on Ubuntu which creates a network effect of community around OpenStack with Ubuntu. Canonical provides commercial enterprise class support to 100s of OpenStack customers giving us valuable insight into the needs of an operating system to power OpenStack. Ubuntu OpenStack, the packaged OpenStack Distribution from Canonical tracks upstream OpenStack closely and is delivered with value added open source tools MAAS to automate bare metal provisioning and Juju for service modelling and orchestration.

VMblog:  How does Ubuntu help businesses reduce complexity in their cloud environments and with OpenStack deployments?

Baker:  Canonical has developed the OpenStack Autopilot, a deployment and management tool for Ubuntu OpenStack. Autopilot uses sophisticated tooling to deploy OpenStack in a reference architecture developed from Canonical's experience supporting OpenStack end users in production. The Autopilot manages the ongoing running of the cloud such as adding capacity or upgrading to a new release of OpenStack. Canonical also offers BootStack, a fully managed OpenStack cloud deployment on customer premises or at a hosting partner of their choice. For a fixed fee per server per day BootStack customers are able to consume OpenStack as a utility service abstracted from the operational running of the cloud.

VMblog:  For a smaller team with limited resources looking to deploy OpenStack, what is critical to their success?

Baker:  Critical for success with deployments at smaller organizations is the right tooling to ensure that the team is able to scale the cloud efficiently without having to take on additional staff or become experts in OpenStack Operations. Tools such as OpenStack Autopilot from Canonical can address these needs.

VMblog:  Could you provide an example of a company successfully deploying on OpenStack using Ubuntu?

Baker:  Deutsche Telekom, Yahoo Japan, Time Warner Cable, Sky

VMblog:  How do you see Ubuntu fitting into the future of OpenStack?

Baker:  Ubuntu will remain the most popular platform for OpenStack and scale out compute workloads. Autopilot will continue focus on simplification of OpenStack management and become a popular way to deliver OpenStack with the right economics, robustness and efficiency of operations.


Once again, thank you to Mark Baker of Canonical for speaking to and answering a few questions about OpenStack and Ubuntu.

Published Monday, September 14, 2015 6:56 AM by David Marshall
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