For the past several years, businesses have been inundated with buzzword-laden rhetoric urging them to embrace “digital transformation,” adopt “agile,” “cloud-native” infrastructures and so on.
It’s one thing to talk about the value of these sorts of changes in theory. It’s another to build a digital strategy that puts them into practice – especially given that the foundational platforms for transitioning to a modern, cloud-native infrastructure, like OpenStack and Kubernetes, can be very difficult to deploy and manage without special expertise.
So, what’s a forward-thinking organization to do? To provide some guidance, here’s a look at how three real-world organizations drove business success by using SaaS platforms based on OpenStack or Kubernetes. The examples also highlight which strategies organizations should follow when working with one of these complex platforms in order to keep their modern infrastructure agile and manageable.
Electronics Designer Moves to OpenStack-Based Private Cloud
Cadence, which specializes in designing sophisticated electronics equipment, realized as early as 2014 that it needed to build a cloud infrastructure in order to host a shared development environment that their engineers could access from any location.
Scared away by the cost, inefficiency and lack of customizability of cloud services based on proprietary virtualization technology, Cadence turned to OpenStack as a solution that would allow it to build a more cost-efficient and agile cloud, tailored to its needs. But when the company’s team looked into implementing OpenStack, it realized that it lacked the in-house engineering expertise necessary to deploy OpenStack on its own.
Cadence solved that challenge by partnering with Platform9 to build a managed private cloud. With Platform9’s Managed OpenStack (PMO) product, Cadence was able to implement an OpenStack-based SaaS environment without having to hire new cloud engineers or drowning in the complexity of OpenStack deployment and maintenance.
The tailored solution enabled Cadence to move its existing workflows seamlessly into the cloud, while also benefiting from a 20 percent increase in resource utilization efficiency. The end result is a lower total cost of ownership for Cadence’s infrastructure, coupled with a higher level of flexibility and resource availability for its development team – exactly the result that digital transformation delivers when teams approach it in the right way.
International Media Company Ditches Proprietary VMs for OpenStack
The cost of proprietary virtualization also proved a challenge for a major international media company that sought a way to standardize its multiple data centers around a single platform. OpenStack appeared the logical solution.
In this case, the company realized from the start that it would not be able to build an OpenStack private cloud without outside help. But when it first engaged OpenStack vendors to help with the implementation process, it found that they failed to provide reliable, hands-on support. They also operated with dated versions of OpenStack and did not offer a seamless way to upgrade.
This experience led the organization to turn to Platform9, whose uptime SLA provided the level of support and availability that the company needed to keep its media production services running reliably. Platform9 also provides an intuitive management interface, instant security patches and easy access to upgrades.
By enabling the company to move past its dependence on an expensive, proprietary virtualization platform to host its digital resources, Platform9’s managed OpenStack solution has lowered total expenses while increasing the agility of the organization’s IT infrastructure.
Juniper Builds Next-Generation Networking on Kubernetes
Juniper Networks, a major provider of networking hardware and software, needed a cloud-native development platform that would enable it to build next-generation networking technologies. Kubernetes was the obvious choice for modernizing Juniper’s legacy IT infrastructure into a cloud-native, service-based architecture.
Knowing that Kubernetes evolves rapidly, with new releases appearing about every three months, Juniper was hesitant to try to deploy Kubernetes itself because it feared its deployment would be out of date before it was even fully up and running. At the same time, the company did not want to invest in a large team of Kubernetes experts just to deploy the platform.
These considerations led Juniper to search for a seamless Kubernetes solution that it could deploy quickly with limited in-house resources, and keep up-to-date as Kubernetes issued new releases. After evaluating different commercial Kubernetes distributions, including those from VMware and Red Hat, Juniper settled on Platform9 Managed Kubernetes (PMK), which it deployed across its global network of data centers.
With PMK, Juniper enjoys seamless Kubernetes upgrades and constant management that minimizes operational disruptions. It has also lowered its in-house personnel costs for Kubernetes and related technologies by about 50 percent as compared to competing organizations.
With the help of Platform9, Juniper is able to enjoy the benefits of cloud-native computing without the management hassle and risks that Kubernetes’s endless complexity can impose even on large enterprises that try to manage it themselves.
As these stories show, open source platforms like OpenStack and Kubernetes have emerged as the go-to solutions for organizations seeking to modernize legacy IT infrastructures. They can be freed-up from the cost and lock-in of proprietary virtualization platforms. But these open source platforms can be tremendously difficult to deploy and manage, even for companies with skilled engineers on staff.
Fortunately, it’s possible to embrace modern cloud technology without going insane: By partnering with a managed OpenStack and Kubernetes provider like Platform9, organizations can leverage the agility and reliability of cloud-native solutions while reducing their overall spend on infrastructure and personnel. With a managed SaaS platform, you can have it all.