Off to private cloud. OpenStack is no infrastructure solution for the public cloud!

OpenStack is undoubtably the new rising star for open source cloud infrastructures. Many known players, including Rackspace, RedHat, HP, Deutsche Telekom and IBM rely on the software to build their offers. But one question remains exciting. Everyone is talking about to get market share from the undisputed market leader Amazon Web Services. Above all, the named public cloud providers, who have decided for OpenStack. No question, in the big cloud computing market everyone will find its place. But is OpenStack the right technology to become a leader in the public cloud, or is it in the end “only” sufficient for the private cloud (hybrid cloud)?

Rackspace is expanding its portfolio to include cloud consulting services

I already had written about the diversification problem and have called OpenStack as the golden cage in this context, because all involved providers stuck in the same dilemma and do not differentiate from each other. Because if you just confront the top two OpenStack provider Rackspace and HP, it shows that the portfolios are approximately equal to 99 percent.

To appease the favor of its shareholder Rackspace has already pursued first new ways and changed its strategy and even stopped the pursuit race in the public cloud. According to Rackspace CTO John Engates customers are increasingly asking for help, so Rackspace should support with its knowledge to build cloud infrastructures. Thus Rackspace seems a little less focus on hosting of cloud services in the future and instead invest more in consulting services of cloud infrastructures. This could be a smart move. Eventually, the demand for private cloud infrastructures continues and OpenStack will play a leading role here. Another opportunity could be the hybrid cloud, by connecting the private cloud infrastructures with Rackspace’s public cloud.

Own technologies are a competitive advantage

Another interesting question is whether a technology, what OpenStack ultimately only is, is critical of success? A look at leading vendors such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure and now the Google Compute Engine as well as their perceived Crown Princes (CloudSigma, ProfitBricks) show one thing. All have built proprietary infrastructure solutions under the IaaS offerings. Although as far as all set on one or the other open-source solution. But in the end everything is self developed and integrated. This leads to the conclusion that proprietary technologies are a competitive advantage, since eventually only a single provider benefits from it. Or was Amazon AWS “just the first provider on the market” and therefore has this huge lead?

Figures speak for OpenStack private clouds

On the official OpenStack website use cases are presented, that show how OpenStack is actually used. These are divided into the categories: On-Premise Private Cloud, Hosted Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Public Cloud. A look at the current deployment (as of 01/14/2014) for the OpenStack use comes to the following result.

OpenStack-Deployments 01/14/2014

Thus, On-Premise Private Cloud (55) installations are quite clear at the top with a wide margin followed by Hosted Private Cloud (19) and Public Cloud (17) deployments. The following are Hybrid Clouds (10) and not exactly specified projects (4).

Please note, the figures are the deployments that were officially reported to OpenStack. However, those show a clear trend where the future of OpenStack is. In the private cloud. Where I assume that hosted private cloud deployments and hybrid clouds will increase even more. As well as OpenStack installations that serve as a means to an end and build the pure infrastructural basis for Web services.


Dangerous: VMware underestimates OpenStack

Slowly we should seriously be worried who dictated VMware executives, what they have to say. In early March this year, COO Carl Eschenbach says, that he finds it really hard to believe that VMware and their partners cannot collectively beat a company that sells books (Note: Amazon). Well, the current reality looks different. Then in late March, a VMware employee from Germany comes to the conclusion, that VMware is the technology enabler of the cloud, and he currently see no other. That this is far from it, we all know, too. Lastly, CEO Pat Gelsinger puts another one on top and claims that OpenStack is not for the enterprise. Time for an enlightenment.

Grit your teeth and get to it!

In an interview with Network World, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger spoke on OpenStack and does not expect that the open source project will have a significant reach in enterprise environments. Instead, he considered it as a framework service providers can use to build public clouds. In contrast, VMware has a very wide spread with extremely large VMware environment. The cost of switching and other topics are therefore not particularly effective. However, Gelsinger sees for cloud and service providers, in areas where VMware has not successfully done business in the past, a lot of potential for OpenStack.

Furthermore, Gelsinger considered OpenStack as a strategic initiative for VMware, which they are happy to support. VMware will ensure that its products and services work within cloud environments based on the open source solution. In this context OpenStack also opens new opportunities for VMware to enter the market for service providers, an area that VMware has neglected in the past. Therefore, VMware and Gelsinger see OpenStack as a way to line up wider.

Pride comes before a fall

Pat Gelsinger is right when he says that OpenStack is designed for service providers. VMware also remains to the leading virtualization vendors in the enterprise environment. However, this type of stereotypical thinking is dangerous for VMware. Because the tide can turn very quickly. Although Gelsinger like to see the high switching costs as a reason why companies should continue to rely on VMware. However, there is one thing to consider. VMware has its strengthen only(!) in virtualization – with the hypervisor. In relation to cloud computing, where OpenStack has its center of gravity, it does not look as rosy as it might look. To be honest, VMware has missed the trend to offer early solutions that make it possible to enable the virtualized infrastructure for the cloud, and serve with higher quality services and self-service capabilities to allow the IT department to become a service broker. Meanwhile, solutions are available, but the competition, not only from the open source environment, grows steadily.

This is also seen by IT buyers and decision makers. I’ve spoken with more than one IT manager who plans to exchange its VMware infrastructure against something open, in most cases KVM was named, and more cost-effective. This is just the virtualization layer which can break away. Furthermore, there are already some use cases of large companies (see on-premise private cloud) that use OpenStack to build a private cloud infrastructure. What also must not be forgotten is that more and more companies change in the direction of a hosted hosted private cloud or public cloud provider and the own data center will become less important over time. In this context, the hybrid cloud plays an increasingly important role to make the transfer and migration of data and systems more convenient. This is where OpenStack due to its wide distribution in hosted private cloud and public cloud environments has a great advantage over VMware.

With such statements, of course, VMware tries to suppress OpenStack from their own territory – on-premise enterprise customers – to place their own solutions. Nevertheless, VMware should not make the mistake of underestimating OpenStack.