This summer, OpenStack turns eight -- and it’s hard to believe how far the open source project has come in under a decade. It continues to be one of the most popular open source projects to date, according to the OpenStack Foundation, and one that is used in production by companies around the globe, including nearly half of all Fortune 100 companies.

At Red Hat, we’re marking our own OpenStack milestone: in 2018, Red Hat OpenStack Platform celebrates its fifth birthday, and we believe the future looks bright for of our massively scalable, enterprise-grade private cloud solution.

Product to Power Digital Transformation

Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 3 debuted in July 2013, and today, nearly five years later, we announced Version 13 of the product. We co-engineered the product with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) to provide an all-in-one Infrastructure-as-a -Service (IaaS) offering -- an industry first. Based on early customer feedback, we added Red Hat CloudForms for Day 2 management, and along the way optimized the experience with Red Hat Ceph Storage to enable software-defined storage implementations. A couple of years later, we re-engineered our “OpenStack Factory” to create Delivery Focused Groups (DFGs), autonomous teams made up of members from PM, Engineering, QE, Support and Documentation to increase feature velocity and improve customer-centricity.  

With each release, we’ve continued to collaborate with the community to add new production-ready features to the platform, from composable roles and enhanced security to simplified upgrades and containerized services. Reducing the complexity has been an ongoing area of investment, and we’ve come a long way with Red Hat OpenStack Platform director. In response to customer needs to balance stability with pace of innovation, we’ve matured the support lifecycle to a model wherein every third release is supported up to 5-years, starting with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10. With our latest release, we’re also introducing “Fast Forward” upgrade capabilities to meet the needs of customers who are currently on the first long-lifecycle release to the next long-lifecycle release with fewer reboots and without the need for additional hardware.

As the technology needs of organizations expand, so too has Red Hat OpenStack Platform. In 2015, we helped to address the challenges faced by enterprises in reducing IT silos and enabling more efficient OpenStack cloud deployments with the addition of Red Hat Cloud Suite, combining Red Hat OpenStack Platform with our other robust cloud offerings. In 2017, we went all-in on the hybrid cloud, realizing that in order for organizations to accelerate digital transformation, they would need an infrastructure that is designed to be as flexible and automated as the workloads running on it. This year, Red Hat has been hard at work on a hyperconverged approach to deploying OpenStack and Storage technologies to shrink hardware footprints and unify lifecycle management, enabling organizations to build on existing OpenStack knowledge and assets without requiring edge technicians and administrators to become OpenStack experts.

Production Deployments

Over the past five years, we’ve seen Red Hat OpenStack Platform customers realize key benefits including increased agility of operations, faster innovation and empowered end-users. From established enterprises to open source newcomers, hundreds of customers worldwide and across industries have come to depend on Red Hat OpenStack Platform to help transform their business digitally. Customers that rely on Red Hat OpenStack Platform to power their hybrid and private clouds include BBVA; Cambridge University; FICO; Massachusetts Open Cloud; Turkcell; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Paddy Power Betfair; UKCloud; Cathay Pacific; and IAG.

For FY18, we reported more than 500 enterprise customers for Red Hat OpenStack Platform, representing 34 percent CAGR for the period from FY16 through FY18.

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A common misconception is that OpenStack adoption has only been strong in the telecommunications industry and among communications service providers (CSPs). While the use case for OpenStack as a highly scalable foundation for network functions virtualization (NFV) is compelling, that’s not the only place where OpenStack shines. In FY18, customers using Red Hat OpenStack Platform to create a modern cloud infrastructure spanned telco, public sector, financial services, media and technology, as illustrated below:

 

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Partner Ecosystem to Help Provide Peace of Mind

Red Hat OpenStack Platform is also backed by a robust ecosystem of more than 400 certified partners. We’ve certified countless partners on Red Hat OpenStack Platform, and have collaborated with others to extend hybrid cloud adoption. Our network of software and hardware partners enables us to better address nearly any enterprise cloud scenario, from extreme workloads and high-performance computing to unique deployment scenarios and multicloud environments. It’s by working with our partners, much like the community, that we’re able to provide a flexible cloud infrastructure that goes well beyond the standard model of what OpenStack use cases should look like. As Communication Service Providers have chosen OpenStack as the default platform for network transformation, we’ve been hyper-focused on adding Network Equipment Providers (NEPs), ISVs offering Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and System Integrators (SIs) to our partner ecosystem to help effectively address the needs of Telcos across the globe.  

Community-Powered Innovation

Lastly, and by far one of the most important pieces to the Red Hat OpenStack Platform story, is our commitment and collaboration with the community. Open source software is only as strong as its community, and we remain committed to this concept, within OpenStack and across all of our technologies. As our mission statement says, we intend to be “the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.” For the last five years, Red Hat has been the leader in company code contributions to the OpenStack project - something we’re immensely proud of --  and the sponsor of the RDO project. Nearly 25 percent of Red Hatters involved in OpenStack are project team leads, and five currently serve as technical committee members.

Looking Ahead

It’s been a whirlwind of a half-decade, seeing Red Hat OpenStack Platform and its customers and partners grow and evolve into the ecosystem that it is today - and that’s certainly something to celebrate. But we’re also looking forward to celebrating the innovation that is to come.

From a community perspective, we’re placing increased focus on bringing together technologies from other open source communities, including Kubernetes and Ansible. Red Hat OpenStack Platform director has helped reduced the complexity of deploying OpenStack and we expect further benefits from Ansible, as well as evolve to address bare-metal provisioning and management. Delivering on the seamless experience of “Shift on Stack” -- Red Hat OpenShift Platform on Red Hat OpenStack Platform -- is an immediate goal we’re focused on; our customers are already betting on that combination.
 

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We’ve also been working hard at extending our product build chain to partners through Distributed Continuous Integration (DCI), so that customers can benefit from tested and certified joint solutions sooner. We see a huge opportunity to expand our partner ecosystem to include Managed Service Providers that can expand the reach of OpenStack in the market. Last but not the least, we’re confident that our vision of providing an open infrastructure to power digital transformation and to further enable the open hybrid cloud can keep us energized for the next five years and beyond.    

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