As Cloud Wars Heat Up, Server OEMs Bet on OpenStack

Remaining Relevant

These traditional OEMs are all making sure their gear fits inside cloudy, mega data centers. The support of cloud is in anticipation of shrinking enterprise sales for on-premises serve, with market share shifting to outsourced data centers as cloud usage increases. It’s no secret that the cloud has the potential to commoditize infrastructure, and being “cloud ready” hedges these bets. Enterprises will always trust brand names above all, so being cloud ready ensures they won’t abandon the gear and vendors they’re already using. There’s acceptance that cloud isn’t a fad, so these OEMs want to make sure that as this great shift takes place, their equipment remains.

Another beneficial trend is that enterprises aren’t necessarily looking to cloud solely for cost savings, but looking to cloud to transform their business. If cloud’s appeal lies solely in saving money and moving CapEx to spending to an OpEx model, then it threatens these OEMs greatly. However, if the drive to cloud is brought on by using it as a competitive edge, then the likelihood of cutting relationships with technology providers is greatly reduced. As the message steers away from purely cost-savings, there is a golden opportunity in cloud, and backing OpenStack, the frontrunner, makes sense.

Others are Doing It

Big OEM players supporting OpenStack definitely has a chance to tip the scales. All of the support for the movement flooding in means that it’s no longer viewed as solely a Rackspace controlled thing. As this support has come in, another argument has arisen of “too many cooks”. With so many contributors to OpenStack, there stands to be some disagreement, some lack of true progress. AWS has been maintaining its lead thanks to quick release cycles. It’s able to turn around and implelement features at a quicker pace, and is in production in far greater numbers than OpenStack. This might be the impetus for Citrix moving CloudStack to the Apache Software Foundation, a very proven community.

It has not won outright. The support behind OpenStack, the increasing interest and talent going behind OpenStack, means that AWS’ edge might not remain forever.

The Open Cloud Wars

The biggest immediate impact that OEM support for OpenStack has is on the other open clouds. As OpenStack continues to garner support, it comes closer to emerging as the standard. Despite added backing, there also remains looming concerns that the project’s code remains immature.  CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus have all found their niches in the enterprise. OEMs backing OpenStack arguably tips the scales to OpenStack’s favor, as it’s a vote of confidence and assurance that OpenStack will be deeply used in the enterprise.

Despite the openness of the project, becoming a de facto standard doesn’t necessarily commoditize cloud. While the OpenStack platform is open, the solutions being built atop of OpenStack use proprietary pieces and value-adds. More and more companies are bringing cloud products to market that are built on OpenStack. Examples include: Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, an OpenStack-powered cloud backed by Rackspace Hosting’s managed services and operational support, HP Private Beta Program for OpenStack Cloud, Piston Enterprise OS released by Piston, and Internap’s commercially available public cloud compute service based on the OpenStack open source platform. All put their commercial spin on open cloud.

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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  1. These recent developments have been interesting, we've been keeping a keen interest as we're involved in OEMs and the like.