Editorial & Analysis
Also by this author
18 Dec 2012
The open source operating system for building public and private clouds is quickly gathering pace and prestige, with EMC joining the OpenStack Foundation and Dell upping its commitment to the consortium.
Last week was a good one for OpenStack, the open-source operating system for building public and private clouds, as it received a couple of big endorsements from major IT vendors, EMC and Dell.
Launched three years ago by NASA and Rackspace, the initiative has gained widespread vendor support in the intervening period, so that, until recently, it was easier to name those companies that hadn’t joined the OpenStack Foundation - Microsoft, Amazon and EMC - than the crowd of those that had.
That changed on 11 December, with the announcement from EMC that it would join the consortium. This wasn’t entirely unexpected - after all, VMware (which is 80 percent owned by EMC) joined back in September, following its acquisition of Nicira, a big OpenStack contributor.
That said, EMC has made a somewhat tentative entry, paying only for corporate-level membership, as opposed to VMware’s gung-ho gold membership. The news was announced on the blog of EMC global marketing CTO Chuck Hollis in a somewhat grudging post.
“Over the last year, we’ve been informally talking with customers and partners about their interest in OpenStack. The surprising thing is just how much serious interest has emerged in the last six months or so,” he wrote, adding that, “It’s gone from a small handful of devotees to a much larger crowd of enterprise IT shops and IT service providers who now have the technology on their roadmap in one form or another.”
Clearly EMC sees enough momentum in OpenStack now to start hedging its bets on the technology. Long-term consortium member Dell, by contrast, has embracing it even more closely, upping its commitment to OpenStack on 12 December by declaring it “its open-source cloud platform of choice for public and private cloud”.
At the Dell World event in Austin, Texas it released a technical preview of its OpenStack-based private cloud, called Cloud Dedicated and offered interested companies the chance to test drive the technology by contacting it at OStechnicalpreview@dell.com. The company also offers Cloud Dedicated for VMware environments.
Perhaps more significant, however, is the implication that Dell’s public cloud will also be built on OpenStack; apparently, it “believes the open and compatible nature of OpenStack allows customers to take advantage of hybrid capabilities to move workloads between private and public clouds.” The beta version of Dell’s public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud based on OpenStack should be available “soon”, the company said, and will be called simply Dell Cloud.
OpenStack still has issues to overcome, as continued unfavourable reports on its robustness circulate around the industry. Only Rackspace is running a commercial public cloud service on the technology today, while HP’s own OpenStack-based public cloud is still in beta. Still, if the technical problems around scale and complexity can be addressed, and other vendors join these companies and Dell in committing to OpenStack for public cloud infrastructures, it could emerge as a daunting competitor to Amazon in 2013.