I’ll admit it – I’ve been living in the proprietary world for a long time now. My personal technology is almost all based on proprietary tech and the companies I’ve worked for have had almost all proprietary tech. That said I’ve always been a proponent of the importance of tension and discourse in the technology ecosystems. It often drives change and innovation and sometimes a refactoring of how we measure value. Open source tends to foster this healthy tension and open-source-based cloud is currently creating a lot of great discourse.
One of the phenomena in the cloud world that has gotten a lot of press is the OpenStack project which is a free open source software set managed by the OpenStack Foundation. A few years ago most traditional manufacturers were all trying to find ways to extend their existing portfolios into the cloud. Some felt that private cloud was a great strategy. From their perspective – why not just convert all that great investment on the floor by converting it from being virtualized to cloud. To me this means making it self-service, on-demand, including a fee-for-use cost model, available to any endpoint, and able to scale elastically as needed.
Now achieving this on-prem is pretty hard to do since most IT shops are based on a fixed allocation model in terms of all the IT resources as well as the budgeting process. Making the transition to a usage based resource model is no small feat. One of the key enablers are the software components needed to transform those fixed resources into elastic ones which I call Cloud Service Management software in the report I published in March which can be found here (behind our paywall). In that report I review 22 companies in this space who provide most or all of the software needed to do the heavy lifting of turning IT virtualized infrastructure into a cloud.
One of the emerging companies that caught my eye recently is Cloudscaling which started out as a company determined to help companies build private clouds based on open source software technology. Over time they took their practitioner knowledge and started adding technology to the stack to enable production grade qualities in applications that needed elasiticity. This includes the web-based apps that always comes to mind first but it also includes mobile apps, SaaS, and Big Data.
Today at the OpenStack Summit, Cloudscaling announced the next generation of their Open Cloud System (OCS) which is now at version 2.5 including support for the OpenStack Grizzly release as well as expanded hardware support with Juniper, Dell, and Cisco hardware. Support for these enterprise grade products should resonate well with commercial IT shops that want to build out cloud services. Add to this a couple of key new capabilities – virtual private cloud (VPC) and block storage snapshots. With VPC companies can offer cloud services with robust security to any endpoint as well as enabling the applications to scale elastically. Snapshotting allows companies to leverage enterprise grade data protection techniques for backup and recovery as well as improving the time to provision new instances.
To me this all adds up to significant improvements in the types of services and capabilities that enterprise customers require. Seeing them on an open source offering so soon is impressive. With Cloudscaling focusing on the data center and the private/hybrid cloud based on OpenStack the day of true fidelity between the Openstack private cloud and OpenStack public clouds are not far away. To me this means someday soon we are going to see the OpenStack cloud ecosystem as a true competitor in the data center and the data center no longer will need to stop at the walls. The days of cloud silos are definitely numbered and if you aren’t open to alternatives like open source clouds – then I think you are missing out on good technology that is enterprise grade.