The Pros and Cons of an OpenStack Dev Platform

The name OpenStack dev platform basically means OpenStack (an improved server utilization) developer platform. OpenStack is the incredible future of cloud computing; it’s basically a way for developers to work on projects in a more streamlined virtual environment without direct support from IT professionals. Perhaps its most notable feature is the way it embraces DIY and encourages the development of new plugins and tools, which promises a future of improved usability and creative new applications.

How it Works

OpenStack allows developers to use virtual machines to create new code. It allows for faster movement between steps, so developers can create code and then quickly create a prototype from that code before running it virtually on small data sets to test it out. This is done without assistance from IT staff, who can be utilized elsewhere in the business thus saving money on man hours.

In terms of usability, OpenStack features self-service dashboards and is far more streamlined, so developers can collaborate together on a private or hybrid cloud with greater speeds and accuracy. It’s an open source project meaning it’s both non-profit and can be redesigned for specific needs. Although an open source project, it’s backed by some of the most recognizable names in Silicon Valley, including HP, Dell, and IBM.

Pros and Cons

Pro: There are some established user-friendly platforms for day-to-day operations, which can be implemented or developed ensuring private clouds are production-ready and virtual machines can be created in seconds and optimized for application, performance, and other benefits. A great example of this is Platform 9, which has management tools for administrators and a self-service portal for individuals.

Con: Some businesses don’t have the time to establish applications or develop; however, these tasks can be outsourced making OpenStack a viable service even for small businesses that are still growing their development teams.

Pro: OpenStack release Kilo has nearly 400 new features, including the very first provision that would allow OpenStack to operate on bare metal machines instead of just virtual environments.

Con: This is not what Simple Talk calls, a “vanilla cloud platform, ready to implement into production out-of-the-box,” which they say will lead to some disappointment and frustration. Again, this isn’t exactly a con as there are some platforms that can streamline the experience and create an ease of use, but these are separate entities.

Pro: OpenStack will continue to evolve, so even if it’s not perfect right now, it will continue to improve as developers and engineers continue to improve its efficiency.

Mainstream Adoption

Although the majority of organizations have yet to adopt OpenStack, it will eventually be adopted by the mainstream. First, consider that a RightScale report published on Forbes.com reports a whopping 93 percent of organizations are at least experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service (if they aren’t already running application). This is due to the flexibility the cloud offers and its ability to crunch data in incredible new ways. And, there’s the capacity to consider; increased storage is certainly a benefit, as well as the fact that it’s virtual storage. The cloud also significantly reduces recovery time, so it’s really only a matter of time before everyone in the mainstream adopts improvements to the service, such as OpenStack.

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