OpenStack: We Are The Open Cloud Alternative


OpenStack will be the open alternative to proprietary cloud players, the open-source cloud initiative's driving forces said Thursday at the OpenStack Conference in Boston.

And as the Rackspace-led OpenStack open-source cloud initiative moves headlong into its second year and experiences a groundswell of interest and participation within its community, 2012 is the time to "think bigger" and prove itself as the open alternative.

"I think we owe a debt of gratitude to VMware and Amazon," Lew Moorman, Rackspace cloud president and chief strategy officer, told several hundred attendees at the OpenStack Conference, noting that VMware and Amazon were trailblazers of the low-cost scalable cloud model. But, Moorman said, VMware and Amazon are closed source, they make closed platforms, and as the cloud computing revolution continues, there will need to be an open alternative. That alternative, he said, is OpenStack.

"Can proprietary platforms alone drive this revolution?" he asked, later adding "There has to be an alternative."

During his presentation, Moorman showed a slide featuring a picture of Oracle's headquarters, which he called "the high temple of lock-in" and said that Oracle is a client-server giant, but "we need to create an open alternative."

In an interview following his presentation, Moorman said there is room for another player to thrive in a market driven by VMware, Amazon and others. Comparing the incumbents to the Apple iPhone and OpenStack to Google Android, which has made great strides in the smartphone market relying on its open model, Moorman said open alternatives are gaining traction.

"The world is not going to allow it to just go to one party," Moorman said. "This thing is too big. There are too many places it needs to go. There are too many directions it needs to head. It's just natural for there to be an open ecosystem that will rival those great proprietary systems that exist and that have been incredibly innovative and have done really well. To me this is a huge market with huge opportunity and I think OpenStack can do incredibly well and VMware can do incredibly well and Amazon and others can do really well. But I think that there's only going to be so many platforms."

Moorman added: "I do not think this is about beating the proprietary models, it's about creating an alternative and a different approach."

Still, there are benefits to OpenStack's model that the big vendors in this space don't offer.

"Amazon today is a hosted model only. It's their product and you're dealing with them; that's it," Moorman said. "OpenStack you can host it anywhere. You can host it on-premise; you can host it at Rackspace; you can host it, in the future, with HP or Korea Telecom. There's going to be a world of providers you can use. That's an incredible benefit to have that kind of freedom. I think the VMware pricing adjustments that have been made recently are a clear indication that they're an enterprise software company. They make great enterprise software and they've got incredible market share, but I also think that for some of the larger companies there's a reason there was outrage there because people felt that they were being taken advantage of. This is free code. It's not as packaged, it's not as robust as VMware today. But it's got incredible momentum."

Next: OpenStack Continues Momentum