How Can We Remove Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Open Source Infrastructure for Private Clouds?

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This article uses current cloud adoption and usage statistics to build on the discussion (in the video) between Todd Robinson, President of InMotion Hosting and Marc Collier, COO of OpenInfra Foundation about the current challenges around widespread adoption of OpenStack powered infrastructure, especially in the context of private clouds for SMBs.

Todd Robinson is the President and Co-Founder of InMotion Hosting. Founded 20 years ago, InMotion Hosting is a full suite web hosting and cloud solutions provider. Todd is a passionate advocate of open-source and democratizing technology to make it easily accessible to everyone.

Marc Collier is the COO of the Open InfraStructure Foundation (OpenInfra Foundation) and was on the original team that got the OpenStack project started at Rackspace. The OpenStack Foundation, now known as the OpenInfra Foundation was started a few years later.

Organizations are Turning More to Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

There are a lot of big drivers for private cloud including security, data sovereignty, cost and performance. And also the ability to customize and operate a cloud that’s more applicable to custom workloads. According to the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report, most organizations are taking a multi-cloud, hybrid approach, in which private cloud plays an important role. The figure below shows that 97% of the respondents to the Flexera survey use at-least one public cloud and 80% use at-least one private cloud. 78% use a hybrid cloud approach.

Types of Clouds Used - Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report

The following figure from the same report shows the adoption of various technologies for private cloud. OpenStack is third on the list with 28% currently using it for their private clouds, 26% experimenting with it and 11% planning to use OpenStack for a future private cloud implementation.

Private Cloud Adoption - Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report

Cloud Adoption is Up. But Challenges Remain.

Overall cloud adoption is up, but SMB’s still lag behind enterprises when it comes to private cloud adoption. OpenStack based private clouds is not an exception to this trend. OpenStack has traditionally been considered an IaaS for enterprises, available to those that have substantial resources, money, time and skill-sets to build and maintain the platform. SMBs and more particularly smaller IT teams may have the desire to go down the open source infrastructure path but it was never a practical option.

Enterprises and SMB’s both face similar challenges when it comes to a cloud solution. Both rank security and managing cloud spend as their top challenges. For SMBs lack of resources and expertise comes third.

Top Cloud Challenges - Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report

A “Trivial” Solution. An On-Demand Private Cloud Powered by OpenStack.

InMotion Hosting, a long term open-source champion took on the challenge of making it “trivial” to consider an OpenStack based infrastructure solution. Flex Metal Cloud is an on-demand private cloud IaaS solution that provides the smallest possible footprint for OpenStack clouds and makes it economically feasible for anyone to implement small private clouds on-demand. Here is how Flex Metal Cloud addresses the three top challenges for SMB private cloud adoption:

1. Privacy

Flex Metal Cloud is a fully private infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform. It comes with private networking and private cloud storage powered by Ceph. Customers have direct control over their hardware and full access control is completely in their hands.

2. Managing Cloud Spend

Flex Metal Cloud uses an optimized hardware configuration and server architecture to deliver an OpenStack private cloud on the smallest possible footprint. The cost efficiencies gained are passed on to the customer. A 3 server hyper-converged private cloud can be deployed for less than $600/mo or under $25/day. There are no hidden costs or licensing fees and best of all it’s usage-based billing.

3. Lack of Resources and Expertise

Smaller businesses and teams no longer have to dedicate their own time and resources to figure out how to build a private cloud on OpenStack. Flex Metal Cloud is the OpenStack-as-a-Service solution can deploy a private cloud in under 45 minutes. And those new to OpenStack can deploy and learn OpenStack in live environments assisted with the extensive user guides provided.

Flex Metal Cloud starts with a cluster of 3 or 5 hyper-converged servers. The hyper-converged OpenStack deployments use Supermicro’s MicroBlade® technology to provide all of the features and functionality of OpenStack while lowering the total cost of ownership of server hardware which allows for a more affordable cloud for the end consumer. Each Flex Metal Cloud deployment includes compute, private cloud storage, private networking, and a cloud control plane. Individual Flex Metal Clouds can be controlled separately or unified as regions under one overall Private Cloud Core.

InMotion Hosting understands that there is no single system, product or company that has all the answers and believes that only by collaborating together, the open source community and the open infrastructure community can come up with next-gen solutions that benefit a wider customer base. InMotion Hosting, as a Silver Founding Member of the OpenInfra Foundation is committed to finding and optimizing such solutions. To wrap up, here is a quote by Todd Robinson that epitomizes the spirit behind Flex Metal Cloud, a “trivial” endeavor that has wide reaching implications for the open source private cloud infrastructure market.


For me, when I look at the big successes for the mega clouds, is that they made getting a hold of competing resources, trivial. It was super easy. You hit the button and you have it. So, I said, can we be something close to that? OpenStack and all the underpinnings is a very serious system. But if we could get close to that trivial idea and let people try it, use it, experience it… What broader reach can OpenStack have today?

Todd Robinson
President and Co-Founder, InMotion Hosting

Visit the InMotion Hosting website to learn more about Flex Metal Cloud IaaS.

If you want to find out how Flex Metal Cloud can fit into your hybrid or private cloud strategy, feel free to email the InMotion Cloud Solutions Team at [email protected]

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