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"Enterprises are starting to take a look at OpenStack as a potential solution," said Sentinel Technologies' Keblusek. "But I have yet to really see a significant deployment at the enterprise level."
According to Gregg Pruett, general manager of Meridian, Idaho-based CompuNet, OpenStack is often ideally suited to smaller companies, as opposed to larger, more established players with extensive IT investments.
"You'll see it in the SMB and you'll see it in customers where some young kid coming out of college wants to make a name for himself by saving the company money," said Pruett. "SMB customers will be very aggressive about getting into the cloud, and they do not have a legacy to deal with, whereas the enterprises tend to be very risk-averse. They have to protect what they have, and they cannot be as aggressive."
Pruett went on to explain that one of the downsides of OpenStack is that the multivendor aspect of the strategy eliminates the likelihood of a cohesive technology road map. This, he said, can make it much more difficult for channel partners to map strategies.
"Not having a comprehensive road map is absolutely an issue," he said. "The road map is going to be extremely important as time goes on because customers will often want to move more quickly than our ability to see over the horizon."
Pruett's observation about road maps makes perfect sense to Keblusek.
"The lack of road maps is definitely a consideration," he said. "It is definitely something you want to look at, in terms of your ability to develop long-range plans. But the saving grace about OpenStack is that you don't have to have the exact same stack; you just need compatibility among the stacks."
At the end of the day, customers will rely on their channel partners to help them navigate the decisions regarding OpenStack or proprietary solutions, said Mullins.
"It's all about maximizing value to the end customer," he said. "So if you want to survive, you have to make sure that you're adding value on top of whatever services you are reselling. VARs need to take a close look in the mirror and acknowledge their ultimate value to their customer."