Tag Archives: OpenStack

Why Rackspace and Openstack may be too late

Fanatical Support

I wanted to take some time and make sure that I clarified my position on Openstack.  Rackspace and NASA announced this open source project back in July of 2010.  Openstack is a cloud manager for private or public clouds.  Openstack positions itself as an alternative to vCloud and through 3rd hosting provider party an (potentially) open standards alternative to Amazon’s AWS.

So, I was quoted in a GigaOM article that I felt Openstack and by proxy Rackspace may be little late to the cloud manager game.  The jest of some of the posts was that this is still a relatively new market and there is plenty of time for new competition.  I don’t totally agree with the full statement.  I do believe that we are early in the market but I don’t agree that there’s plenty of time  for competition.

My primary point – If a customer wanted to roll a cloud today what are their options?  Rackspace has offered Cloud based services for a long time.  One of their challenges has always been their lack of API into their IaaS based solutions.  That’s one of the reasons why they decided to sponsor Openstack.  And they now offer their Openstack Cloud in limited availability.  One of the main strengths of AWS includes the API’s.  There’s obviously some great scalable applications built on the Amazon cloud which has been in production since 2002.  Zynga is a great use case for AWS and use of the AWS API to build a hybrid cloud.  So, past performance is a critical consideration to overcome for enterprise customers considering Openstack.

Building a cloud manager is hard work.  Cloud managers are extremely complex orchestration systems that are part data center automation, CRM and accounting systems.  I guess you can think of them as ERP for the cloud.  So, I’m not saying that the Openstack development crew is taking too long to deliver their solution; I’m saying the project may have been kicked off too late.

When I talk to customers today about public clouds, I’m constantly asked about AWS in addition to other solutions I put before them.  In my non-technical customers AWS already has a huge part of their mind share when they think public cloud.  When I talk to the today about private cloud strategies they and we talk Openstack they ask me who has it in production today?  How does it extend to hybrid models today?  I believe Openstack will have a great story to tell some months from now.  But that’s the challenge.  It’s not vaporware the code is out there to download and install and jump start a cloud development project.  But if you want a production ready solution now…. vCloud, Abiquo, NetIQ, Dell, Eculyptus are all out there waiting for you.  I don’t believe AWS is too late for private cloud but public cloud is looking like a one horse race today.

So, today what are end user options for cloud?  What companies come directly to mind when asked the question?  Is it too late for the Openstack consortium?

Introduction to Cloud Computing – Cloud Manager

So, I normally teach this class as a two hour session and I had a heck of a time cutting out material and getting it down to something digestible for Internet (and slide deck) viewing. It’s a quick introduction to cloud managers and a continuation of my introductory cloud computing course.

Is it too late for Openstack?

Great post and not just because you quoted me. As some one who works in the now I have to help organizations decide which direction to go for cloud providers. The cloud manager is, I believe the most critical component of the solution.

Companies have to make long term decisions on what API`s to build their projects around. Computer, storage and network are all commodities that Rackspace, HP, DELL and Amazon can all provide. What`s critical is the API I design my application to use. All these companies have proven they can provide great hosting services. How many have a proven track record for providing API`s to their cloud offering?

I hope this spurs great conversation. Well done.


There’s been a lot of news about OpenStack recently — notably a conference dedicated to the open-source cloud-computing platform this week and IBM and Red Hat (s ibm) (s rht) signing on to the effort. And yet there is a feeling in some quarters that  it may be too late for the project to take hold.

Two years after Rackspace(s rax) and NASA launched OpenStack in part to counter Amazon Web Services (s amzn), AWS keeps getting bigger and broader — with new, increasingly enterprise-focused services coming out all the time. There also is fear — even among some OpenStack proponents — that too many cooks might spoil the effort. Sure OpenStack could become the “Linux of the cloud,” but it could also get fragmented as each vendor adds its own secret sauce to the OpenStack underpinnings. The downside scenario is that OpenStack ends up more like Unix than Linux.

Taking on AWS…

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It’s official: IBM and Red Hat get with OpenStack

This is a big deal, at least the IBM part of it, especially if IBM is providing its capability and talent in leading open source projects. The money is just a nice value add. I think the loss of Citrix was big but getting IBM on board could more than offset the loss of Citrix. I was intrigued when Rackspace announced this a while back. Rackspace is a great hosting provider but managing an open source software project didn’t seem a strong part of their capability.

IBM on the other hand has been leading the charge in sustainable open source projects. They understand what organizations are looking for in cloud technologies from their experience with a wider pool of customers and industries. They also understand how to marry the software with services and get companies to buy in to the open source vision.

These things still have a tendency to move slowly. This is a huge and complex problem. VMware has a head start with their vCloud solution but fortunately this market is in its infancy and the alternative solutions have opportunity to catch up and potentially surpass VMware.


OpenStack filled in some key checkmarks this week as it added IBM(s ibm) and Red Hat(s rhat) to its roster of corporate backers.  As GigaOM reported last week, the two tech giants will join the nascent OpenStack Foundation as Platinum members along with AT&T, Canonical, Hewlett-Packard(s hpq), Nebula, Rackspace(s rax), and Suse.

The gelling of the foundation is important as OpenStack evolves from an effort driven by Rackspace and NASA, to a broad-based coalition. Its goal is to provide an open-source cloud platform alternative to Amazon Web Services (s amzn).

A number of companies including  Cisco(s csco), Cloudscaling, Dell(s dell), Dreamhost, Morphlabs, Netapp(s ntapp) and Piston Cloud Computing (see disclosure) are joining as Gold members — bringing the total of foundation members to 18, for now. That number will likely grow as the foundation evolves,  said Mark Collier, VP of business development for Rackspace.

Citrix(s ctsx), which was an OpenStack…

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OpenStack Administrative Interface

For an open source platform I think the basic interface provided out of the gate for OpenStack is OK.  A little sparse on options even for an end user interface.  Looks like a lot of development investment would have to be made to make the UI as clean as some of the other products I’ve seen.  It’s more important for them to get the automation process working correctly at this point in the project.  I like the key injection and the ability for dynamic volume provisioning.  Some other options I’d like to see would include cloning/snapshots.

I’m also not sure if you can create business rules for provisioning.  Some of the questions that pop to my head would be how do I limit the total number of resources available to this sample project.  A better question for this view would be how would the user know the total available resources left for his allowance for this project.  Reporting on if my project resources expire etc.

Developing Cloud Manager’s with the features needed for both a public or private cloud is a BIG project.  I’m sure the project team and Rackspace are up to the task.  I’ll continue to watch the progress of this project.