Full speed ahead for China Railway's Openstack private cloud

For the future, Gao expects private cloud will help China Rail realise a better enterprise application development model. "Because we have hundreds of applications developed by different people, different groups and different standards, it's difficult to manage in operations," he said. "With cloud management, our applications team management model is based on the cloud, so we can unify management, we can unify the architecture and standardise the hardware. That's a big change.

"So in the future, all the enterprise applications are easier to manage, and we can share many things - code, resources, procedure. I think that's for the future."

It wasn't all plain sailing. As might be expected, changing an environment from legacy applications to a new private cloud platform means learning new technologies. "The difficulty is for most coders, they have to learn new things - learn Linux, learn some databases like Hadoop," Gao said, but added that this is just a barrier you have to overcome.

This leads into where he hopes Openstack might be headed, and that's in simplifying operations and deployment for the end user.

"I think the Openstack community is improving this, with containers to deploy the control component, they are doing this," he said. "The second one is automation because when you are managing thousands of servers, you cannot do it manually. So easier for deployment, easier for operation - but I think the community is doing this."

Computerworld UK

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