Why OpenStack Matters
Monday, April 09, 2012 posted by Dave Cahill
OpenStack matters because choice matters. In order for markets,
and innovation within these markets to thrive, consumers must have
platform choices. Multiple platform options help to accommodate the
varying requirements, skill-sets and risk profiles of different
customers. In the cloud context, platform options help service
providers right-size cost and quality of service to the unique
needs of a subset of customers. Competition between multiple
platforms forces all the players to be better (In this context,
Citrix's recent release of CloudStack to the Apache Software
Foundation might turn out to be one of best things to ever happen
Despite the fragmentation that competition creates early on, market forces will whittle down the number of platforms choices over time. Technology history has taught us that platform markets can sustain only a few dominant players. Often times this includes a proprietary and open source alternative. The operating system wars that started 20+ years ago are the most frequently cited evidence of this dynamic. The fragmented and proprietary Unix variants eventually lost out to Linux and Windows as the open source and proprietary standards respectively. Server virtualization has seen a similar trajectory with VMware and Xen leading in a race that is still underway. Most recently iOS and Android have created a competitive and rapidly evolving mobile operating system market.
Fast forward to today and history is repeating itself in the cloud "operating system" market. VMware's proprietary stack has become the clear commercial leader. Meanwhile, there is an emerging group of open source platforms vying to become the "Linux" of the cloud data center. Only time will tell how this plays out, but OpenStack has as good a shot as any to become this defacto standard. With the stakes so clear the question isn't why invest in OpenStack, but rather why wouldn't you?
Despite the magnitude of the opportunity, let's not lose sight of the fact that it is still early days. July of this year marks only the two year anniversary of the OpenStack effort. In just six short months since the last release, OpenStack has made some big strides. Of course, challenges still persist, but there are more than 150 companies and 2500+ developers working on the problem.
Coinciding with the Essex code release last week, the OpenStack Conference & Design Summit will be held April 16-21 in California. At SolidFire, we have been working hard since the last summit and are proud of our achievements over this period. We will be very active participants throughout the week of the conference. If you are attending, make sure to stop by our booth or come see our panel, "OpenStack & Block Storage...Where to from here?" on Thursday at 1 p.m. PST. We will also be hosting a party with CloudScaling and RightScale on Monday night. Building off the Mirantis reception earlier in the evening, make sure to come hang out with three of the most innovative companies in the cloud ecosystem at 111 Minna Gallery in downtown San Francisco. Details and registration for the party are posted here.
-Dave Cahill, Director of Strategic Alliances