OpenStack Summit Analyst Panel - Fragmentation and Commercialization
From the 'Cloud Punditry' files:
SAN DIEGO. Thanks to the OpenStack Foundation, I got to sit on a panel event this week alongside some industry analysts (Gary Chen/IDC, Steve O'Grady/Red Monk and Krishnan Subramanian. Yeah, that's right I was the only press guy on a panel of analysts and no I wasn't the moderator.
There were a few surprises in the session, not the least of which was the fact that the room was packed. Clearly people wanted to know what we had to say. And no it wasn't just pr or analyst relations folks either, it was mostly people in operations.
The biggest question that dominated half of our time was about commercialization. The FUD being that OpenStack has now just become some kind of cabal of commercial vendors and that's bad.
No I didn't agree with that assessment. I just reminded the analysts that THE Linux experience was different and that has colored some viewpoints in the media and elsewhere. With Linux, we started off with Slackware and Debian and we started off with hobbyist developers.
The cloud is going the other way.
While you can run a cloud in your basement if you want (yup, that's me!) it really is A data center and enterprise IT challenge. It's something where there is a need now and there are people willing to pay money for support. That's a good thing. It has fueled the rapid growth of innovation in OpenStack.
The risk – and one I mentioned during the panel – is that of fragmentation. It's an idea that Steven O'Grady echoed as well. As multiple vendors jump in, and as people begin to deploy there is a (small) risk that we could end up with Android style fragmentation. That's where it's still (mostly) open source but different versions and vendor specific enhancement make for lots of developer (and user) challenges.
There were some on the analyst panel that weren't perhaps as bullish as I am on OpenStack, but all were positive. There is clear acknowledgement that it is the way forward.
The risks that face OpenStack today are far fewer than what faced Linux in the early days. Sure there is FUD. But the backing of all those commercial sponsors, all of them are embracing the open source model, from Dell to IBM to HP to Cisco to Intel, is something Linux did not have in the beginning.
Linux took off into mainstream it when many of those same vendors embraced Linux. With OpenStack the same thing is happening, just a whole lot faster.