The Dutch government’s data centre in Groningen (ODC-Noord) is setting a standard for government-hosted cloud services. Its combination of OpenStack (managing virtualised machines) and CEPH (handling storage) is attracting more and more central government services. The open source solutions are proving enormously scalable, while keeping costs low. The data centre began an Openstack and CEPH pilot in early 2014 - finding it the best option among alternatives such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and EMC² VMWare. Requirements included being able to host the software in their own data centre, no IT vendor lock-in and the ability to respond to a wide variety of government tasks.
Fast forward to 2016 - ODC Noord now has 18 central government customers, runs 1500 virtual machines, and manages 12 Petabytes of storage, over 46 nodes. The costs per storage node or per virtual machine in the government data centre are on par with both AWS and VMWare.
Recent customers include the Dutch national archives, which is looking to grow its storage needs to around 100 Petabytes. “When we heard that, we were very glad that we had selected open source”, says Henk Bultje, one of the project managers at ODC Noord, “Open source allows us to scale, while keeping costs manageable.