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Is An Open-Source Secure Cloud Infrastructure Possible?

June 30, 2017

Is An Open-Source Secure Cloud Infrastructure Possible?

 

Two of the big reasons why the public cloud has become so appealing to businesses are that it takes away the need to make a big financial investment in infrastructure and that it cuts out a lot of the high-level IT management that is required when a business owns its own infrastructure. But some enterprises are concerned about storing and working with data on the public cloud for various reasons. Questions of security and data ownership in the context of public cloud vendor relationships have led to there being quite reasonable use cases for owning infrastructure, even in an era where public cloud usage is on the rise.

Because of this, hybrid deployments, in which an internally owned cloud communicates with the public cloud in order to try to get the benefits of both types of infrastructure, are growing in popularity. Setting up an in-house cloud infrastructure is no small investment. It requires purchasing servers and other hardware and having IT staff that can manage the system. Still, going hybrid (or even eschewing the public cloud entirely and implementing a solely private cloud in internal servers) is a valuable option for meeting the needs of enterprises in specific situations that call for cloud computing without potential cloud vulnerabilities.

But there’s another tier of choices to be made after the decision to go in-house with the cloud. Does a company work with a vendor or solution provider that can build out a private or hybrid cloud, or does a company stay fully internal? If an enterprise wants to build out cloud infrastructure entirely on its own without deploying proprietary software solutions in order to make it function, there is always the option to go open-source.

Why an Open-Source Cloud?  

When it comes down to it, some IT departments or businesses just like to do it, in the sense of implementing everything themselves instead of relying on business relationships of varying degrees of complexity for business-critical infrastructure. If an IT department uses an open-source solution in order to build out a cloud, it doesn’t have to worry about being reliant on a vendor for patches or updates. This shifts dependence, and responsibility, entirely to the internal IT staff. It allows a business to have a granular measure of control over cloud-based operations at the most fundamental level.  

Is There a Downside to Open-Source?

As with using any open-source platform over a proprietary solution, building out an internal cloud using open-source software requires a knowledge of how to implement and manage that software. That includes taking on any necessary security upgrades and patches. Fixing bugs and glitches will often require an IT pro to consult developer forums, as the documentation on open-source software can be sparse.   

Open-Source Clouds: Where to Sell Security?

For solution providers, there is still plenty of room to create relationships with enterprises utilizing in-house cloud infrastructure built with open-source software as its foundation. Offering additional support and guidance for those businesses that have built out their clouds on open-source platforms is one big opportunity. This is especially true in the case of businesses that have experienced IT turnover, where there may no longer exist the area of technological expertise in the department required in order to manage an open-source cloud server.  

How have you seen businesses successfully implement and secure open-source cloud infrastructure?