China’s first OpenStack-based startup bridged a”huge gap” in the market to earn 8,000 registered customers.

Superuser’s startup playbook series highlights startups in the OpenStack community to discuss tips for fellow newbies in the ecosystem and their perception of the current playing field.

This time, Superuser features UnitedStack. The Beijing-based startup offers a cloud-hosting service based on OpenStack Nova.

UnitedStack talks about the "huge challenge" it faced in implementing and deploying OpenStack in China.

What’s the origin story of UnitedStack?

UnitedStack, founded in February of 2013 by core members of the OpenStack team in Sina’s SAE— the earliest and largest platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platform in China, is the first OpenStack-based startup company in China.

At the early stage of starting the business, UnitedStack aimed to develop its own OpenStack distribution which could be deployed in a customers’ physical environment through a flash disk. Soon after, the team launched a UOS 1.0 beta version which allowed plug-and-play. In practice, however, there was a huge gap between the development of the version and the actual market situation—large-scale deployment of OpenStack faced too many adaptations and since most of the customers lacked OpenStack skills, high-quality operation and management of OpenStack became a huge challenge.

In other words, neither OpenStack nor the Chinese market were ready for the implementation and distribution of OpenStack with UnitedStack’s plug-and-play function.

UnitedStack realized that it could only provide a reliable OpenStack platform after a large-scale deployment of OpenStack; offering 24/7 online service was the key to successfully implementing OpenStack in the Chinese market. Afterwards, UnitedStack adjusted and launched UOS 2.0. This new version had the ability to provide OpenStack public cloud service while managing private cloud service to customers via UnitedStack’s union platform, UOS.

In the early stages of UnitedStack’s UOS operation, the platform faced a lot of issues such as high traffic loads caused by too many new users registering, cyber attacks and the risk of penetration—all of which were solved by improving the infrastructure of the platform and promoting operations and maintenance systems.

Since UnitedStack’s performance had improved, flexibility and reliability of its public cloud service have improved as well—and continue to do so. The types of services that UOS public cloud platform delivered to customers were constantly enriched. New services such as load balance, network attached storage (NAS) file sharing, GRE tunnel, Open VPN, MySQL, Redis and object storage were also added.

How many customers does the UnitedStack public cloud have?

As of now, UOS public cloud has more than 8,000 registered customers, of whom more than 50 percent are paying customers.

Are there customers that you can name?

Today, UnitedStack mainly focuses on customers in the Internet industry, internet data center and in the traditional industry. Organizations like Chinese weather mobile app vendor MojiWeather, leading educational offline-to-online platform Genshuixue and environmentally friendly products manufacturer Hanvon Blue Sky Technology are running on UnitedStack’s UOS cloud platform.

What’s the geographical distribution of UnitedStack’s public cloud customers?

Currently, the customers of UnitedStack UOS public cloud are in more than 10 provinces and cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and cover the regions of North China, the Northeast, South China and East China. The industries cover energy, finance, education, internet, games, etc.

The OpenStack startup series will regularly feature playbooks from global startups. If you’re interested in sharing your company’s story, email us at [email protected]

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