Smoothing the Path to OpenStack Cloud for Service Providers | SUSE Communities

Smoothing the Path to OpenStack Cloud for Service Providers


How to Overcome the Challenges of Standing Up a Private Cloud with OpenStack for Your Customers

In “OpenStack: Enabler of Digital Transformation—How Service Providers Can Benefit,” 451 Research speaks directly to some of the concerns you as a service provider probably have, such as utilization rates and scale, when you think of standing up a private cloud for your customers. Your business thrives when you can automate services for your customers, and OpenStack can help. Of course, because OpenStack is an open source technology, you could go the route of downloading the software and setting it up yourself, from scratch—but that will likely involve a lot of DIY work.

A commercial distribution of OpenStack, like SUSE® OpenStack Cloud, provides benefits like support and precompiling, making it an altogether easier prospect to manage and creating a higher virtual-machine-to-engineer ratio. This can reduce your total cost of ownership and even beat public cloud on price, in the right circumstances.

The paper also outlines four main challenges service providers will face when using an open source cloud management platform (CMP) such as OpenStack to set up a private cloud for customers, and shares a few thoughts on facing down those challenges:


Service providers often still see open source CMPs as toolkits for technically minded developers, and believe proprietary products are easier to use. Those that plan to take the DIY approach might indeed find this perception to be true, but it’s not necessarily the case with commercial distributions. Good support from a commercial open source vendor can help reduce operational complexity and overhead.


While commercial distributions offer you a range of options for using precompiled versions of open source code, this has led to concerns around fragmentation of the code base—particularly in OpenStack’s case. If versions become too differentiated, service providers and their clients may see a narrowing of features or functions. There’s a counterbalancing benefit, though. Precompiled distributions can help you become operational faster, thus reducing your time to market with new service offerings.

Reliability and Resiliency

Established proprietary cloud platforms benefit from technology maturity and well-documented updates. This is less so with open source CMPs—partly because of the variations in consistent code development and community support. The more established a CMP, the more a service provider can protect itself against issues of reliability.


For proprietary CMPs, formal certifications and training programs have created a ready supply of developers, engineers and others with skills in virtualization, orchestration and so on. While the OpenStack Foundation’s Certified OpenStack Administrator accreditation is an exception to the rule, finding experienced open source software experts is more difficult. The cost of hiring and retaining skilled developers may be prohibitive for some service providers.

Solving these challenges is possible.

A commercial, enterprise-grade distribution of an industry-leading CMP—like SUSE OpenStack Cloud—can help service providers capture this enormous market opportunity while avoiding many of these drawbacks. Moreover, by joining the SUSE Partner Program, service providers gain the benefit of free training that will enable them to become certified in OpenStack.

If you’re a service provider considering OpenStack for your customers, get started today by reading “OpenStack: Enabler of Digital Transformation—How Service Providers Can Benefit.”

You might also like to read about the other benefits you can enjoy as a SUSE partner in OpenStack Cloud.

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Matthew JohnsI have over 20 years' experience in the IT, cloud and hosting industry gained in a variety of roles spanning project management to product release and product marketing. I’m responsible for product marketing for SUSE OpenStack Cloud, and have been working with OpenStack since it was released in 2010. Outside of work, I enjoy running, cycling, great beer (craft, cask, keg - call it what you like as long as it tastes good), spending time with my family, playing the piano and charity fundraising – I’ve been supporting the Movember Foundation since 2006, and have run multiple races, climbed mountains and cycled around the UK for many charities over the years.