August 31, 2012

Amidst Confusion About the Open Cloud, Support Will Settle the Score

The Linux Foundation's interesting LinuxCon and CloudOpen conferences are winding down today in San Diego, Caliornia.. Both conferences have had remarkably rich schedules, as we covered here. And, lots of new data on cloud computing arrived in conjunction with CloudOpen, all of which is prompting debate about just how confusing the open source cloud computing space is getting. People are having trouble differentiating open cloud platforms from each other. Here are some thoughts coming out of the conference.

Earlier this week, we published this infographic rounding up some data on the convergence of open source and the cloud from an upcoming IDC research report:



In conjunction with the infographic above, The Linux Foundation's Amanda McPherson has a post up where she writes:

"...enterprise users feel openness in the cloud is important. They want to participate in an open ecosystem and value open source software, standards and APIs for their cloud infrastructure and platforms. This is simply what they expect due to two transformative decades of software development thanks to the rise of Linux and open source software. Today, collaborative development isn't one way to build software; it's the only way that produces the very best technologies."

Meanwhile, CNet notes this regarding one of the sessions at CloudOpen:

"During a panel moderated by Red Hat's John Mark Walker, Greg DeKoenigsberg of Eucalyptus Systems described the situation as 'fighting to maintain openness in a space that strongly mitigates against it at every opportunity.' At the same time, several panelists acknowledged that many users will, by default, take the easiest path, whether it's open or otherwise."

The last point is a really important one. Many people are reacting to the fierce competition going on in the open source cloud computing race with confusion, as seen in this post. In enterprises, IT departments have a lot of clout, and they often override what users want. IT administrators will gravitate toward simple-to-deploy solutions and they will absolutely demand top-notch support

With all of the recent cloud platforms fighting for space, in the end the few that win will be the best supported ones. That's why we can't, for example, ignore Red Hat's upcoming OpenStack platform. Hasn't Red Hat proven that it knows how to support open source software? Citrix, too, with CloudStack, can point to its long history of supporting enterprise users.

Support is where the rubber will really meet the road with emerging open cloud platforms.


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