Being open is about adopting the technology decisions that organizations have made and giving them the freedom to move across technologies, models and cloud providers. Systems composed of open technologies provide the freedom to change environments and deliver a robust and secure experience extending existing IT to the cloud. They enable customers to do more work with less infrastructure, deliver a broader range of services, incorporate new technologies and boost greater innovation around the cloud [[i]]. The majority of existing cloud offerings are implemented in proprietary and highly standardised form. What presents advantages for the provider – technological knowledge, economies of scale, etc. – creates troubles and frustration for the customer. Users complain of “vendor lock-in”, where they are dependent on a given vendor with no freedom of choice.
Embracing an open cloud means there is no technology lock-in, no contractual lock-in and no service lock-in. It means providers don’t dictate technologies and that competition is embraced [[ii]]. New, emerging standards will increase the portability and interoperability of systems across cloud service providers, and will reduce or eliminate this current barrier to cloud adoption.
The STORM CLOUDS approach
The STORM CLOUDS Platform is built upon widely accepted open source technologies. Moreover, its architecture is a baseline for future extensions and modifications with the objective to allow developers to improve the way functions are implemented or to add new features not currently available.
The SCP was developed using the following open source solutions:
- OpenStack for the implementation of the IaaS Layer. OpenStack is the most popular and most adopted open source IaaS solution.
- Cloud Foundry for the implementation of the PaaS Layer. Cloud Foundry was chosen because had the best combination of usability, open-source community, developer experience, and relation to SCP’s needs. It is supported by the Cloud Foundry Foundation where EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, Pivotal, SAP and VMware are platinum members.
- LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) for the implementation of applications’ VMs.
- MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL database engines for the implementation of Database Services Module.
- Gluster for the implementation of file Sharing Service Module.
- HAProxy for the implementation of Load Balancer Module.
- Zabbix for the implementation of the Monitoring Module
- phpMyAdmin for the implementation of the MySQL Database Administration Module
- phpPgAdmin for the implementation of the PostgreSQL Database Administration Module
- Duplicity for creating the backups.
The implementation of SCP on open source technologies will not lock the organisations that use it into a proprietary ecosystem and thus made it extremely hard to move their application to another provider. The development of custom APIs was avoided and all the components, including the database tier, storage tier, and any micro service endpoints, were created using open source tools. This approach encourages organisations to continue to use the platform because they want to, not because they have to.
Another significant advantage of the use of open source solutions is the fact that the platform will continue to benefit from the improvements in the operability and security of OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and all the other tools. It can scale without significant development effort. Also, the selection of broadly adopted software packages guarantees the long-term support of the solution.