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The OpenStack Summit, taking place in Paris, France this week, will be a turning point for those of us that study market development activity within the cloud computing infrastructure marketplace. I attended my first OpenStack Summit earlier this year, in Atlanta, Georgia. During the event conference sessions, I was immediately engaged by the apparent enthusiasm and energy of the other attendees.

You know, it’s true; people that are driven by a strong sense of purpose really do radiate a high level of passion for their cause that can become somewhat contagious. It’s hard to resist a positive outlook.

That said, I’m not easily swayed by buzz or hype. As a consultant with nearly three decades of technology business experience, I tend to carefully consider all the facts before I offer an opinion. Most of my experience is within the telecom sector, so I was drawn to the conference sessions that focused on the business challenges that I knew very well. Upon returning home from the Atlanta Summit, I wrote a story about my observations; it was entitled “Exploring OpenStack cloud case studies.”

How the OpenStack Market has Evolved

I’ve observed several encouraging developments since the Atlanta Summit that I believe demonstrate the OpenStack market has now matured to a point where the next wave of enterprise user adoption will start to occur. As we enter 2015, I’ll also share periodic updates on my market assessment.

In the past, there have been numerous reports in the trade media that a lack of skilled and experienced cloud-savvy technical talent has limited some IT organizations from acting on the cloud service pilot request of an internal constituent. This scenario has helped to fuel the Shadow IT phenomena, where public cloud services are procured and used directly by impatient Line of Business (LoB) leaders.

Vendors in the cloud computing community have responded, by offering the support resources required by CIOs and IT managers – essentially creating the environment to address the staffing and skills demand in the marketplace. As an example, more OpenStack training classes are now available, and the associated skills certification process ensures that the graduating students are prepared for the most common use cases.

Moreover, for those IT organizations that already have a pressing near-term need for project guidance; OpenStack consulting professional services are readily available. Some vendors, such as eNovance – now part of Red Hat, can offer a proven track-record of project experience that spans several years.

Furthermore, while there’s been a long-standing perception that OpenStack may be too complex for some legacy IT organizations, we’re seeing progress on this front as well. New automation-oriented tools, such as the OpenStack appliance, enable the rapid provision of a just-in-time deployment for Proof of Concept (PoC) pilots. Now, we’re clearly getting closer to achieving the Frictionless IT model that so many have craved. Therefore, I believe that most IT leader needs and wants can be satisfied.

Full service providers of OpenStack solutions, such as Red Hat, offer a comprehensive suite of product and professional service capabilities that can help to ease the burden on today’s IT organizations and accelerate the learning-curve of their essential human resources. As a consultant, I’m confident that these recent developments will resolve many of the prior concerns about the “readiness” of OpenStack.

What’s the resulting impact? Let’s consider one key leading indicator; a significant increase in the depth and breadth of progressive case studies focused on meaningful business-oriented outcomes.

Observe, and you will see, when an OpenStack platform is combined with a forward-thinking DevOps approach, together they can be applied to achieve substantive business technology innovation goals.

Proof-Positive: OpenStack DevOps in Action

As we’ll surely see during the presentations at the Paris Summit, more organizations are moving beyond their initial PoC deployments and thereby exploring numerous commercial workload applications.

Executives in the financial services industry today are facing business challenges on a scale that many have not witnessed before. Of course, the discipline to control operational costs are important, but ensuring survival is never enough for those leaders that are inspired to pursue an opportunity for advancement that will position their organization for the future.

Granted, having the flexibility to adapt to shifts and changes in the marketplace will increase the likelihood of survival. But if you really want to excel and prosper beyond your peer group, then you’ll need to innovate. Today, the route to create that unique value is through superior digital business processes. Leading that effort, you’ll often find a business technology visionary that’s extraordinary.

If you thought that only the smaller, or newer, financial institutions will likely champion these innovative changes, then you would be mistaken. Technological transformation can be led by bold leadership at companies with a very long history.

A case in point is Jose-Maria (Chema) Sanjose, the Global Head of Innovation in Technology, for the Digital Bank division at BBVA in Madrid, Spain. He’s an accomplished senior IT professional with more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry.

His current objectives include developing a complete cloud architecture, including private cloud IaaS, based on OpenStack, and PaaS capabilities. His goal is to have a hybrid cloud with workload and data distribution over different clouds. Moreover, his long-term cloud vision includes Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities.

You can learn more about the BBVA lessons-learned and associated best-practices by attending his presentation on Monday, and also during a panel session on Wednesday at the Paris Summit. Note, video of the event proceedings will be recorded and made available online later – check the OpenStack Foundation site for details.

Otherwise, act now. Contact your Red Hat representative if you’re ready to deploy your first solution, upgrade an existing cloud service deployment, or if you have questions about pricing or availability in your region.

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