Six months ago, Denmark’s Agency for Governmental IT Services (Statens It) began making a private cloud computing environment available to all state agencies. The agency is using OpenStack, a well-known open source cloud platform. It is less expensive than commercial alternatives, and, since it is entirely under the control of the agency, does not impose any extra security measures on its customers.
“Open source tools make it possible for Statens It to provide a less expensive alternative,” the agency explains in an interview with the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory (OSOR).
The primary use of the new OpenStack cloud platform is to give state agencies a testing facility where they can try out and develop new solutions. Agencies can use OpenStack to add servers for testing and development, for which they pay by the minute. The agency gives clients free reign to run whichever IT solutions they wish.
In the past six months all Denmark’s state agencies have had access to the testing and development platform, a spokesperson for the Statens It says. The introduction of OpenStack at Statens It was briefly mentioned in the agency’s 2017 annual report, published in March this year.
The hardware on which the agency runs the infrastructure, servers, network and workstations is mostly fully depreciated. All the servers, for example, are “leftovers” that are no longer supported by the hardware vendor. “We are using standard blade servers combined with our own storage network,” the spokesperson said. “We currently implement OpenContrail and OpenStack’s NOVA to manage all of the virtual servers and compute services.” Other OpenStack components used by Statens It are Heat and Glance, to manage server templates, and Ceilometer for metering and billing.
Statens It signed a support contract For OpenStack with US-based IT services provider Mirantis.
The agency’s engineers are still getting familiar with the OpenStack platform, the spokesperson says: “We do not expect to be contributing patches upstream or publish our own solutions any time soon.”
The agency says it will share its OpenStack experiences and knowledge with other public services, for example with its peers in the Euritas network.
OpenStack is used for private cloud platforms in several other European Member States, including in France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. In 2016, the European Commission awarded contracts for its first cloud contract, with OpenStack among the solutions proposed by at least one of the winners.