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SUSE OpenStack is no more -- but Don't Panic

Nick Chase - October 09, 2019
"We are working closely with all affected customers and partners to support them through their remaining subscription period and as they transition to alternatives."
There's a phrase from a supplier you don't want to wake up to.
But that's what SUSE OpenStack -- and by extension, HP Enterprise OpenStack, also owned by SUSE -- customers heard this morning as the European company announced that it would be winding down its participation in OpenStack.  "SUSE is focusing and increasing our strategic investments on the application delivery market and its opportunities in order to align with technology trends in the industry and, most importantly, with our customers' needs." 
SUSE has long been a vital, resourceful ally in the OpenStack community and here at Mirantis we will miss their contributions and leadership. But what do you do if your OpenStack supplier suddenly leaves the business?  
Fortunately, OpenStack is still a thriving community, and if you need commercial support, there are other alternatives.

Picking up the pieces

At Mirantis we've been in the OpenStack business since it was hot -- so hot, in fact that there were many more companies and products than the market would ultimately be able to support.  So the steady drip of companies leaving the field and products getting shut down isn't a surprise; it's an inevitable result of the natural consolidation that comes as a technology matures.
Of course, that's no consolation when you're abruptly left with a product that's no longer supported. Fortunately, because we have been there since the beginning, our organizational DNA is built on services, and we have a deep bench of upstream contributors and a support organization that can work with virtually any OpenStack on virtually any operating system.
In fact, that's just what we've done for more than a dozen large organizations who have suddenly found themselves with abandoned distributions. Because we've always focused on vendor neutrality, we have supported these customers on their existing distributions as we've helped them evolve their stack to a roadmap-based solution.  In other words, they didn't have to suddenly pack up and move to a new distro.
But it does point to the importance of avoiding vendor lock-in and other traps.

Vendor Lock-In

For years, Mirantis has been beating the drum against vendor lock-in, and this is a great example of why.  If you chose the SUSE operating system for some reason other than OpenStack -- or even if you are just married to SUSE via technological inertia -- you're not going to want to switch to Red Hat OpenStack, with its reliance on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Instead, you want to make sure that whatever architecture you're implementing, if you need to move you can. Now, that doesn't mean that you might not want to take advantage of vendor tools for deploying or managing OpenStack, but at the end of the day you want to be certain that if you need to change providers, your clusters themselves will be unaffected.
So if you're making the switch now, you'll want to try and do it in a way in which your clusters see the least amount of disruption, and that means staying on SUSE hosts.

Inflexible architecture

The final "gotcha' is to make sure that your infrastructure and architecture is flexible. For example, you probably guessed that SUSE is pivoting to Kubernetes -- and you're right.  This kind of change and innovation is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be a problem.
OpenStack as a technology isn't going away; it's just become the "boring" infrastructure on which the cool new things like Kubernetes are deployed.  The important thing is to make sure that your infrastructure can do more than just OpenStack, and even more than just OpenStack and Kubernetes. You want to make sure that you're ready for whatever comes next, so that you're never caught in this situation again.

Come talk to us

As you already know if you're reading this, Mirantis has been in the OpenStack business pretty much since the beginning, and we're not going anywhere. We serve hundreds of customers, with more than 25,000 physical nodes running on our platform. So if you value the business benefits of OpenStack, we're ready to help support your transition.
But we've seen our share of pivots, which means we know what you're going through. We're here to help you through the stomach-clenching uncertainty an announcement like today's can bring.
Give us a call.

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