Keeping it practical – the top 3 considerations for developing a Proof of Concept for OpenStack

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Dell has more than its fair share of down-to-earth and highly knowledgeable people. This was one of the things that attracted me to join the company more than four years ago. In keeping with the pragmatic, can-do attitude of my Dell colleagues, in this post I will share my top three common-sense guidelines for conducting successful Proof of Concepts (PoCs) with the OpenStack platform. These guidelines were developed in our Dell Solutions Centers where we conduct hundreds of PoCs every year with a wide variety of technologies and platforms.

Some of these suggestions may appear simplistic, but don’t let that fool you. In today’s hyper-speed multi-tasking work world, it is all too common to have things fall through the cracks. Our experiences in the Dell Solutions Centers indicate that it is often the simple and common sense things that get missed – and this leads to project inefficiencies, wasted efforts, and less than successful outcomes. Poorly executed projects often reflect negatively on project owners and can damage reputations.

Here are my top three considerations that, when executed effectively, will increase project efficiencies and generate more value from doing a Proof of Concept with OpenStack cloud technologies:

1)     Pick a specific scenario, use case or workload to assess.

OpenStack is fabulously flexible, and with its modular architecture it can be deployed to support a vast number of scenarios. Given this flexibility, picking a specific use case or workload to test is particularly important when evaluating OpenStack clouds. By picking a specific use case you will prioritize test plans and can more easily align your PoC to the needs of your organization. Fail to attend to this consideration and your project will wander aimlessly and scope creep is a real possibility. Even worse, your project may be dismissed or ignored as just another “experiment” that plays around with infrastructure but doesn’t contribute anything of value or help with business decision making. 

2)     Define specific criteria for success.

This consideration is frequently overlooked. Simply executing a series of tests without any meaningful success criteria is just activity for activity’s sake. Missing this will hinder decision-making and can lead to your PoC project being dismissed as folly. Setting meaningful criteria is all about ensuring you are contributing to data-driven decision making and it shows that you are serious about helping your organization move forward.  

3)     Set milestones and track project success against these milestones.

Milestones help to ensure that project status updates are executed by creating natural checkpoints leading to better execution and communications. In addition, tracking projects against milestones adds legitimacy, and demonstrates your PoC project is a serious effort and that you know what you are doing.

These three considerations are just my personal picks. To go deeper, I’d recommend viewing this recorded web cast to explore the complete set of recommendations for executing a flawless proof of concept projects with OpenStack:

PoC projects often come off the rails because these simple best practices are not followed. By building these steps into your projects you will help ensure on-time and on-budget completion of the project, you will directly contribute to objective data-driven decision making. All of that, in turn, will generate support from your stakeholders and garner you rockstar status in your organization!

Dell offers end-to-end cloud solutions powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. Click here get additional details on Dell and Red Hat cloud solutions.

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