Volkswagen Group to Deploy OpenStack in Production

By Mike Vizard Print this article Print
Clouds and OpenStack

Volkswagen is leveraging internal IT expertise to build private clouds on top of OpenStack and the open-source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service environment.

OpenStack cloud management framework will be used mainly for so-called "cloud-native" applications. But as this technology continues to mature, more IT organizations seem to be warming up to the idea of hosting all their application workloads on OpenStack to reduce their dependency on commercial management software.

A case in point is the Volkswagen Group, which expects to deploy a distribution of OpenStack that's curated by Mirantis in a production environment this year.

Speaking at the recent OpenStack Summit conference in Austin, Tex., Mario Müller, vice president of IT infrastructure for the Volkswagen Group, revealed that—as part of a total reinvention of how IT infrastructure is deployed and managed—the company has built a 2,000-square-meter data center that will become the hub for its OpenStack deployment. Müller said that by 2017, that data center will be home to 2,500 TB of storage being accessed by servers with a total of 8,736 processor cores.

While Volkswagen has adopted a cloud-first mentality, that doesn't mean the auto manufacturer is getting rid of all its data centers. Instead, Volkswagen is leveraging its internal IT expertise to build private clouds on top of OpenStack and the open-source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment, which will host a wide range of applications.

The Volkswagen example stands in stark contrast to all those who claim that OpenStack is only fit for managing modern cloud-native applications based on, for example, containers. While Müller clearly has a lot more in the way of internal IT engineers to make OpenStack work in a production environment, it's only a matter of time before OpenStack gets deployed more widely—for example, by using turnkey appliances.

In the meantime, a new survey of 318 IT professionals conducted by the OpenStack Foundation finds that 65 percent of them are already running at least one instance of OpenStack in a production environment. The vast majority of those deployments, notes the study, are running on-premise rather than in a public cloud. The survey also indicated that Ubuntu Server from Canonical is the most widely used operating system for hosting OpenStack.

Obviously, OpenStack still has a way to go in terms of enterprise maturity. The average IT administrator, for example, will find OpenStack more challenging to implement than, for example, tools from VMware or Microsoft.

However, given the open-source nature of OpenStack, there's no doubt that it's gaining momentum at a time when many IT organizations routinely default to using open-source software whenever possible. In fact, at this juncture, the question is not whether OpenStack will be deployed in production environments, but rather to what degree.

This article was originally published on 2016-08-01
Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has more than 25 years of experience covering IT issues in a career that includes serving as director of Strategic Content and editorial director for Ziff Davis Enterprise, which published eWeek, Baseline, Channel Insider and CIO Insight.

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