Canonical: The cloud shift is developer-led

Summary:Canonical's head of corporate services Neil Levine argues that migration is integral to the cloud, in a conversation with ZDNet UK about open source, OpenStack and the cloud's future

...with a source of innovation that it has involvement in and is associated with the project before Amazon, then it'll get some of that mindshare around it. So I think all these reasons bolster each other.

I don't think OpenStack will be the only game in town. Distributed Management Task Force [DMTF] has something like six or seven standards being submitted to it currently so we'll see how Amazon responds. There's a little bit of an echo chamber going on at the moment: you have to see what the software is like, who adopts it, who uses it. There's a lot still to happen, but [Rackspace] has done it for the right reasons from its point of view and I think it has set up the project in the right way.

Is your contention that, because of how innovative the cloud is becoming and how fast the field is moving, it's becoming less about the platform and more about the software that is mounted on it?
Exactly, absolutely. Because everyone is trying to work out what the coolest piece of infrastructure they can be running is — whether it's Eucalyptus or OpenStack — and then what kind of workloads they want to run. You're seeing this big data meme where people want to start using Hadoop or Cassandra or these other NoSQL technologies and we get them [Canonical's Ubuntu releases] out there every six months — this is a developer-led shift here. The operations people are billing their needs, but ultimately it's the application people who are saying: "This makes my job easier; I can write better applications that scale more easily if you give me the infrastructure".

So you would say it's a developer-led process?
In the enterprise, yes. We've had a product on the market for over 1.5 years, and we were the first open source cloud option. We took the product to a lot of businesses and they talked to their operations people and infrastructure people who said: "yeah, we love this, this is great, but I can't just deploy it with nothing to run on top. I have to have an application". Then they talked to their application people who said: "I want to do cloud, but this is the problem I've got at the moment" — whether it's analytics or big data issues.

That's why a lot of people are using Amazon — they've busted out of the firewall because they couldn't get enough of the stuff from their operations people, so it's the application people who are catalysing these decisions. By getting [Ubuntu] out every six months with the latest cloud software in it, we're giving the developers what they need to say to the operations people: "Give me Ubuntu so I can roll this thing I was playing with out".

Topics: Cloud


Jack Clark has spent the past three years writing about the technical and economic principles that are driving the shift to cloud computing. He's visited data centers on two continents, quizzed senior engineers from Google, Intel and Facebook on the technologies they work on and read more technical papers than you care to name on topics f... Full Bio

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