While OpenStack has been the darling of the open-source world for some time now, it’s only recently that the project has become an appealing target for enterprises. While, a year ago, implementing OpenStack took a large team and millions of dollars, today ISVs are offering distributions of the platform aimed at making installation and maintenance easier.

Indeed, when we checked in a year ago with developers and IT operators working on integrating OpenStack, there were often complaints. One administrator implementing the platform at Korea Telecom even went so far as to accuse the project’s corporate interests of ignoring API compatibility in favor of jamming features into its project. That project, in particular, was created early on, and thus the team was forced to roll its own OpenStack. Third-party distributions did not exist when Korea Telecom began its implementation.

(Related: OpenStack launches app marketplace)

Today, however, it seems the OpenStack project—at its core at least—has congealed into something both Mirantis and OpenStack can distribute as a software product. Gary Chen, research manager for cloud and virtualization system software at IDC, said that OpenStack might never be as easy to install as Linux, but that the distributions out there now can certainly save teams time and money.

“OpenStack is kind of a loose collection of modules,” he said. “You sort of want them to work and innovate independently. But the past couple of releases, they’ve been working on getting the integration together, so now the teams have started collaborating.”

Chen said that companies like Canonical, Mirantis and Red Hat all have compelling OpenStack distributions, but that there is still a lot of work to be done before these distributions and the project as a whole are truly easy to maintain.

“I think they have a long way to go,” he said. “Things like doing upgrades and installing still aren’t there yet. I think distributions will make it easier. I don’t know that it will ever be turnkey, like Linux. Even Linux can be complicated. I think OpenStack is going to be even more complicated. I don’t know if it will ever be OpenStack-in-a-box, or one-click-to-deploy. Certainly I think it’ll be easier, and administrating will be easier, but for large-scale complicated deployments, there’s still going to be a bit of a learning curve, and there will be a lot of services attached to it.”

Pushing out versions fast
Adrian Ionel, president and CEO of Mirantis, said that his company’s latest version of its OpenStack distribution addresses many of the topics Chen discussed. Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 was released last Wednesday.