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Bias said OpenStack also creates more aggregate value for all users as more clouds run on an open platform. "The bigger opportunity is to have something that's open and interoperable across several different clouds," he said. And as OpenStack creates an opportunity for a community to rally around OpenStack tools, strong uptake is likely, Bias said.
Bias added that there is strong opportunity for service providers that leverage the storage and compute offerings of OpenStack and differentiate themselves with a suite of services built upon it, like load balancing, data recovery and backup, Bias said. OpenStack gives those providers the ability to build a baseline cloud that is scalable and competes on cost, and to get it running and functional then layer services and support atop it.
"The challenge isn't,'Can they differentiate?' it is 'how fast can they get to parity for the baseline so that it runs itself and then begin to build out a suite of services on top of that?'" Bias said "The longer they wait to get in the game with the baseline [cloud], the harder differentiation will be."
But not everyone is 100 percent sold on OpenStack opportunities just yet. John Treadway, director of cloud services for Blue Bell, Pa.-based systems integrator Unisys, said in an interview that while OpenStack is "pretty intriguing," it's going to take time to gain meaningful traction in the growing cloud computing market.
Treadway said as it stands now OpenStack looks to be more a cloud stack for the SMB that service providers can leverage. However, he questions where those providers will be able to differentiate themselves and their offerings as all are utilizing the same code. Treadway added that OpenStack is not yet ready for enterprise use.
"My expectation is that this will serve the needs of service providers looking to deploy an SMB cloud offering similar to Rackspace Cloud, but that it won't do much for the enterprise for some significant period of time," Treadway wrote in a post on his CloudBzz blog. "Service providers might be leery too – first in terms of having no throat to choke (no commercialization partner), but also out of concerns of having a me-too service. Do you really want to compete with Rackspace with their own code? Smart people can still provide differentiation, but there may be a natural aversion to basing your cloud on one of your main competitor's kit."
Treadway said services like Cloud.com and Enomaly offer that "single through to choke." Right now, Treadway said, it doesn't appear OpenStack will fit the needs for Unisys' enterprise customers, which are looking beyond the cloud stack.
Another unknown is how active OpenStack community members and the "friends" that have gathered to show support for the initiative will be over time as OpenStack evolves, Treadway said.
"In six months, will these companies still be interested in supporting this or will they be changing the next shiny new object?" he asked. Later, Treadway added: "It's too soon to say whether [OpenStack] will change any games or make things fundamentally better."