OpenStack Cloud Gains Awareness, Closes In On VMware vSphere

OpenStack cloud

A survey conducted by cloud management vendor Zenoss polled 772 attendees at the OpenStack Conference in October and found that 73 percent are considering some kind of OpenStack deployment. Forty percent of respondents plan to be operational on OpenStack within a year, the survey found.

According to Zenoss' 2011 OpenStack Adoption Survey, the biggest forces driving users to OpenStack clouds are cost, with 47 percent citing cost savings as a key decision-maker; and avoiding vendor lock-in, with 46 percent saying that is their OpenStack catalyst. Other OpenStack drivers include scalability, 38.1 percent, and functionality, 38 percent.

The increasing awareness around OpenStack has it nearly tied with VMware vSphere for respondents' first choice of cloud operating system. vSphere was selected by 39.8 percent of respondents as the cloud operating system they'll mostly likely deploy, while OpenStack placed a very close second with 38.4 percent. Rounding out the top five were RedHat with 16.2 percent; VMware vCloud Director with 14.3 percent; and Citrix CloudStack with 11.5 percent.

While OpenStack and VMware vSphere are nearly tied and represent roughly 80 percent of the cloud operating system most likely to be deployed by enterprise, service provider and government respondents, the survey revealed that service providers are more likely to select OpenStack than enterprise and government organizations.

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"Organizations with higher levels of satisfaction with open source systems are more likely to choose OpenStack over VMware vSphere as a cloud operating system," the survey indicated.

Forty-four percent of respondents cited the OpenStack storage component, dubbed Swift, as the most interesting OpenStack offering; followed by compute, or Nova, 43 percent; network connectivity, or Quantum, 40 percent; and the OpenStack Dashboard, 40 percent.

Nearly 50 percent of respondents, it is very important that OpenStack is open source, while 21.9 percent said it is somewhat important.

In an interview last week at Cloud Expo West in Santa Clara, Calif., Rackspace CTO John Engates said OpenStack will remain a main focal point for the San Antonio-based cloud giant into 2012 as the open source cloud operating system gets more exposure.

"OpenStack starts new conversations," Engates said, citing new Rackspace offerings including the Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, which offers a reference architecture around OpenStack clouds and puts OpenStack cloud deployment capabilities in the hands of select systems integrators.

Engates said 2012 will also see new features added to OpenStack to "help close the gap" and make the open source cloud operating system a one-stop cloud shop.

OpenStack is now in its fourth release, called Diablo. Since the open source cloud initiative launched in July 2010, the project has drawn more than 120 participating companies, including Cisco, Citrix, Dell and others into the OpenStack community. Recently, HP has vowed its commitment to OpenStack. The OpenStack project also has roughly 300 active developers and has experienced more than 50,000 downloads from its code repository, which doesn't take into account downloads from other sources.

Next year, Rackspace expects to launch the OpenStack Foundation, which will handle the project governance and trademark and copyright ownership for the OpenStack cloud.