Ask the IT Consultant

Oct 19 2012   2:00PM GMT

OpenStack Take 3 – Business Overview

Beth Cohen Beth Cohen Profile: Beth Cohen

Question: Is OpenStack a flash in the pan or is it for real?

After four extraordinary days of immersion into all things OpenStack at the just concluded OpenStack Summit in San Diego, I can heartily say without reservations that OpenStack is not only very real, it is truly a game changer for the IT industry.  With that being said, yes, there is certainly plenty of hype about this Open Source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering – one wag even quipped that OpenStack was at the peak of the Gardner hype cycle, so it must be real.  Here are just a few highlights for the terminally busy:

  • The technology has come a long way since the project’s August 2010 inception.  With 13 major corporate foundation contributors, it seems like the only major technology companies not involved are Amazon and Apple.
  • There was much discussion about the newly created OpenStack Foundation as an organization and its long-term viability.  However, compared to where the Apache Foundation was at the same time in its lifecycle, the OpenStack Foundation is far ahead of the curve.
  • OpenStack is definitely gaining market traction.  There were plenty of academic, enterprise and service provider IT folks kicking the tires.  To encourage more market adoption, the website is featuring user stories.  A new one from WebEx was inspired by a visit to the Boston conference where the engineers saw the Mercardo Libra success story.
  • While there was still a preponderance of developers in attendence (it was a design summit after all), there were more operations and business types than ever.  The vendor area was busier than ever.
  • The biggest technical buzz was around Quantum and virtualized Software Defined Networking (SDN) — standing room only at the technical update and all the design sessions, but Cinder, and Keystone were not far behind in incorporating new features and functionality.
  • Every time I turned around there seemed to be a new distribution available from both the usual suspects, such as Piston and Nebula, and the big players such as Cisco, SuSe and ???.  Niki Acosta’ Vapor Trail blog has a nice summary of the many vendor announcements.  More on the case of the proliferating distributions coming…
  • And finally, the parties this time were for the most part more subdued.  HP’s soirée at the New Children’s Art Museum was cool, but the endless Techno Musak at all of them just gave me a pulsating (pun intended) headache.

As can be seen from this tiny sampling of the Summit activities, an enormous amount of energy and momentum has built up in just over two years.  For a project that will likely eventually be as important as Apache and Linux, every organization and person who has contributed to it should be justifiably proud of their accomplishments so far.

About the Author

Beth Cohen, Cloud Technology Partners, Inc.  Transforming Businesses with Cloud Solutions

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