Cloud Computing

Top 15 Open Source Cloud Computing Technologies 2014

Open source technologies have a long history. Linux, MySQL and the Apache Web Server are among the most popular and successful technologies brought forth by the community. Over the years, open source experienced a big hype which, driven by developers, moved into corporate IT. Today, IT environments are no longer conceivable without open source technologies. Driven by cloud computing, open source presently gains strong momentum.

Several projects launched in the recent past have significantly influenced the cloud computing market, especially when it comes to the development, setup and operations of cloud infrastructure, platforms and applications. What are the hottest and most important open source technologies in the cloud computing market today? Crisp Research has examined and classified the “Top 15 Open Source Cloud Computing Technologies 2014” in order of significance.

OpenStack to win

Openness and flexibility are among the top five reasons for CIOs during their selection of open source cloud computing technologies. At the same time, standardization becomes increasingly important and serves as one of the biggest drivers for the deployment of open source cloud technologies. It is for a reason that OpenStack qualifies as the upcoming de-facto standard for cloud infrastructure software. Crisp Research advises to build modern and sustainable cloud environments based on the principles of openness, reliability and efficiency. Especially in the areas of openness and efficiency, open source makes a significant contribution. With this in mind, CIOs set the stage for the implementation of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud/infrastructure scenarios and assist the IT department in the introduction and enforcement of a holistic DevOps strategy. DevOps, in particular, plays a crucial role in the adaptation of Platform-as-a-Service and the development of applications for the cloud and leads to significant speed advantages, which also affect the competitive strength of the business.

The criteria for assessing the top 15 open source cloud computing technologies include:

  • Innovation and release velocity
  • Development of the community including support of large suppliers
  • Adoption rate of innovative developers and users

In consulting projects Crisp Research especially identifies leading users who are using modern open source technologies to run their own IT environments efficiently and future oriented in different scenarios.

The “Top 5 Open Source Cloud Computing Technologies 2014”:

  1. OpenStack
    In 2014, OpenStack already is the most important open source technology for enterprises and developers. Over 190 000 individuals in over 144 countries worldwide already support the infrastructure software. In addition, its popularity among IT manufacturers and vendors increases steadily. OpenStack serves a continuously increasing number of IT environments as a foundation for public, private and managed infrastructure. Organizations in particular have utilized OpenStack for their purposes to build own private clouds. IT providers like Deutsche Telekom (Business Marketplace) use OpenStack to build their cloud platforms. Today only few developers have direct contact with OpenStack. However, the solution has a high importance for them since platforms like Cloud Foundry or the access to container technologies like Docker are often delivered via OpenStack. In other cases, they directly access the OpenStack APIs to develop their applications directly on top of the infrastructure.
  2. Cloud Foundry
    In the growing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market, Cloud Foundry gets in a leading position. The project was initialized by Pivotal, a spin-off by EMC/ VMware. Cloud Foundry is mostly used by organizations to deploy a private PaaS environment for internal developers. Managed service providers use Cloud Foundry to offer PaaS in a hosted environment. The PaaS project plays perfectly together with OpenStack to build highly-available and scalable PaaS platforms.
  3. KVM
    KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is the preferred hypervisor of infrastructure solutions like OpenStack or openQRM and enjoys a high priority within the open source community. KVM stands for a cost-efficient and especially powerful option to commercial offerings like VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V. KVM has a market share of about 12 percent, due to the fact that Red Hat is using this hypervisor as the foundation for its virtualization solutions. Over time, the standard hypervisor KVM will be in a tight play with OpenStack as CIOs are presently searching for cost-effective capabilities to virtualize their infrastructure.
  4. Docker
    This year’s shooting star is Docker. The container technology, which was created as a byproduct during the development of platform-as-a-service “dotCloud”, currently experiences a strong momentum and gets support from large players like Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. For a good reason. Docker enables the loosely coupled movement of applications that are bundled in containers, across several Linux servers, thus improving application portability. At first glance, Docker looks like a pure tool for developers. From the point of view of an IT decision-maker, however, it is definitely a strategic tool for optimizing modern application deployments. Docker helps to ensure the portability of an application, to increase the availability and to decrease the overall risk.
  5. Apache Mesos
    Mesos rose to a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation. It was conceived at the University of California at Berkeley and helps to run applications in isolation from one another. At the same time, the applications are dynamically distributed on several nodes within a cluster. Mesos can be used with OpenStack and Docker. Popular users are Twitter and Airbnb. One of the driving forces behind Mesos is the German developer Florian Leibert, who was also jointly responsible for the implementation of the cluster technology at Twitter.

Open Source is eating the license-based world

Generally, proprietary players such as IBM, HP and VMware schmooze with open source technologies. HP’s first cloud offering “HP Cloud” already based on OpenStack. With HP Helion Cloud, the whole cloud portfolio (public, private) was harmonized via OpenStack. In addition, HP has become the biggest code contributor for the upcoming OpenStack “Juno”-release, which will be released in October. IBM contributes to OpenStack and uses Cloud Foundry as the foundation for its PaaS “Bluemix”. At VMworld in San Francisco, VMware announced a tighter cooperation with OpenStack as well as with Docker. In this context, VMware will present its own OpenStack distribution (VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)) in Q1/2015, which empowers the setup of an OpenStack implementation based on VMware vSphere. The Docker partnership shall ensure that the Docker engine runs on VMware Fusion and servers with VMware vSphere and vCloud Air.

Open source solutions like OpenStack are attractive not only for technical reasons. From a financial perspective, OpenStack also supplies an essential contribution, as the open source framework reduces the cost for building and operating a cloud infrastructure significantly. The license costs for current cloud management and virtualization solutions are around 30 percent of the overall cloud TCO. This means that numerous start-ups and large, well-respected software vendors like Microsoft and VMware make a good chunk of the business by selling licenses for their solutions. With OpenStack, CIOs gain the opportunity to conduct the provisioning and management of their virtual machines and cloud infrastructure via the use of open source technologies. To support this, free community editions as well as professional enterprise ready distributions including support are available. In both cases options to significantly reduce the license costs for operating cloud infrastructures. OpenStack empowers CIOs with a valuable tool to exercise pressure on Microsoft and VMware.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.