As new technologies like applications and programming languages are introduced, it's important for companies to remain flexible and fast enough to adapt, which is why Walmart and Comcast have embraced OpenStack.
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By adopting OpenStack solution OneOps, Walmart doesn't have to spend unnecessary time writing code or automating new processes in order to keep up with new technologies, Andrew Mitry, OpenStack Lead at Walmart, explained today at OpenStack East 2016.
Walmart already uses more than 3,000 applications and services and has more than 170,000 cores in more than 30 regions, with more than 60 Open Source products that are deployed more than 40,000 times each month. With OneOps, Walmart can automate low-level processes like load balance and firewalls using OneOps, which Mitry said frees up time and resources to manage more intricate processes that require manual oversight.
"It's about running and managing and maintaining these applications, which we get through OpenStack," said Kire Filipovski, Distinguished Architect at Walmart Labs. "We are constantly changing the resources that run in the cloud. We're automating the full lifecycle."
Whereas Walmart previously updated and serviced its applications once a month, OpenStack technology lets the company make constant deployments. This flexibility has made the retailer, and its processes, more reliable, more up-to-date, and more capable of implementing new innovation or emergency application fixes.
A Similar Experience at Comcast
Comcast has more than one petabyte of memory deployed across 34 national data centers. It has deployed more than 73,000 lines of code to OpenStack, with 1,100 commits, said Jonathan Chiang, Chief Architect of Cloud Infrastructure at Comcast. "We really believe in OpenStack and we believe this is evidence of that."
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The goals of Comcast's OpenStack efforts are cost reduction, reduced duplication of effort, application development, and accelerating innovation. Comcast also runs Hadoop on OpenStack in order to improve its big data efforts.
"I've lost track of how many ways we can implement OpenStack," Chiang said. "There are so many different ways to do it."
Comcast, and the rest of the OpenStack community, needs to collaborate with other large-scale operators, continue to contribute to the OpenStack community, and embrace the chaos of OpenStack in order to continue to improve and expand upon the progress that has already been made in the OpenStack community, he said.
Bimodal Business and Agile Infrastructure
"Your CEOs and CIOs are driving toward a digitial business," said Donna Scott, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner Research. "And cloud is the foundation."
Seventy-seven percent of the processes of public companies will be digital by 2021, Scott said. Most Gartner clients have been using digital processes to deliver better operations or to drive more revenue through new channels, she said.
Gartner's research indicates CIOs and CEOs are seeing a change from the traditional style of business, which revolves around a cycle of input, process, and output, to a discipline focused on business-as-a-platform. Scott referenced games like Pokemon Go, which brings buyers and sellers together around the business's technology. "That's the power of a platform," she said.
"It's not just about IT...All of the functions of the business change as a result of moving into new areas. We cannot function as we did before. Bimodal businesses find and explore until they find the key functions of the business." Bimodal businesses, as Scott described them, combine linear and traditional aspects of business (human resources, finance, etc.) with digital business innovation to drive innovation.
To become a bimodal business, organizations will need to develop an agile infrastructure built on OpenStack. Cloud computing will become essential and should be used for all application services that require speed and frequent updates, Scott said. Companies with systems of record that are not cloud-based should be redesigned for the cloud.
"The systems of innovation and differentiation tend to be born in the cloud," she said.
The Mainstreaming of OpenStack
"OpenStack has become increasingly mainstream," said Mark Interrante, SVP of Engineering at HPE. "In our research, last year, the numbers of people with full deplyment was about 16 percent or so. Within one year the majority of people, 67 percent, had OpenStack in full production."
Companies want to build mobile and agile infrstuctures underneath their existing infrastructure. They ask HPE for help integrating OpenStack with existing infrastructure, migrating current workloads to automated OpenStack processes, as they build out their infrastructure to support innovation, Interrante said.
"The goal here is no meetings with IT," he added. "I wanted instant access to an API, which means no meeting with somebody who says I can or can't. My team can go off in an afternoon and build something without having to ask for permission."
He said the ability to build and update applications using Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) without IT input, and more specifically without having to ask for budget or additional servers, has made his teams quicker and more willing to experiment and innovate. "Teams want the agility of the cloud," he said.
HPE is currently working on improving lifecycle management, scale and agility across additional regions, and bare metal hardware for its next product release. It will also work with third-party systems to provide a more wide-ranging solution for its clients. Interrante said he expects the updates to be live within the next year.