Have you ever bought a piece of furniture at IKEA? The price is right, though it comes with a hefty instruction manual, and you have to assemble it yourself.
The idea is, of course, that you don't need to be a handyman to have that cabinet full of books by Sunday evening. Anyone with a screwdriver and hammer can build it. Isn’t that right?
But who's to blame if something goes wrong -- were IKEA's instructions too complex for the layman, or did the customer make a mistake? Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
There are similar questions about OpenStack. There is a lot of hype about this open source cloud platform. Some call it the future of cloud computing. In fact, it is the only option on the open source market for some users. And yet, OpenStack adoption remains limited.
As Jim O'Reilly writes in this handbook, many IT administrators don't have the complex skills required to run and manage OpenStack. OpenStack also has dozens of projects, all of which range in maturity. This may give OpenStack the appearance of instability.
OpenStack adoption can be great for an organization as long as everyone understands what they're getting into. The promise of OpenStack may be overstated -- it's not a panacea to address every cloud question. There are legitimate OpenStack uses. Keep your expectations in check, or you may end up wishing you had bought the pre-assembled cabinet.