The race to be the leading cloud platform

The race to be the leading cloud platform

Summary: The race to be the leading cloud platform is well underway. Amazon's AWS is clearly the market leader at this point. OpenStack is gaining momentum in the cloud platform race. Eucalyptus is not standing still either. Since it is so early in the race, just about anyone could win in the end.


Now that I've landed after a cross-country move, I have the opportunity to consider moves in the world of OpenStack. Red Hat, IBM, HP and RackSpace have all demonstrated their support for  the family of open source projects that make up OpenStack and OpenStack itself.

Over 163 companies are now members of the OpenStack group. HP and IBM both have enhanced their cloud stack-based offerings. Dell has announced that it is working on its on efforts to commercialize OpenStack as well.

One the founders of the OpenStack movement, RackSpace, is talking about its "Next Generation Public Cloud". Here is a segment of a recent release the company published that describes how it has productized the open source code:

  • Cloud Servers, powered by OpenStack – based on the latest OpenStack compute release, this solution is fast, reliable, scalable and is accessible via the new OpenStack API as well as via an easy-to-use, intuitive control panel. To ensure a smooth ramp-up, Rackspace is accepting customers in the early access program to begin using Cloud Servers, powered by OpenStack. Early access sign-ups are open now and Rackspace will begin providing access on May 1.
  • Cloud Databases, powered by OpenStack - Available in early access, gives customers API access to massively scalable, high availability MySQL database that is based on SAN storage for high performance and provides automated management of common database tasks.
  • Cloud Block Storage, powered by OpenStack – Now in beta, this new solution gives customers highly elastic raw storage and a choice between a high performance (leveraging solid state disks) or a standard lower-cost block storage solution.
  • Cloud Control Panel – Also in early access, the new Control Panel was built from the ground up and with the customer in mind. It is simple, fast, intuitive and flexible. The new control panel also features multiple enhancements, including server tagging and multi-region capabilities.
  • Cloud Networks, powered by OpenStack – Coming soon, the solution allows customers to manage logically abstracted network services programmatically. Software-defined virtual networks provide flexibility and agility in addition to enhanced security via network isolation and port filtering.
  • Cloud Monitoring – Also in early access, Rackspace has launched Cloud Monitoring to help customers easily monitor their infrastructure and applications proactively, including OpenStack Clouds.

These products add to Rackspace’s existing cloud capabilities such as Cloud Load Balancers, On and Off-premise Private Clouds (powered by OpenStack), CDN, Cloud Sites and the ability to connect cloud, dedicated and on-premise deployments via RackConnect.

Snapshot analysis

It is clear that OpenStack is gaining momentum in the cloud platform race. Although 163 companies have thrown their weight behind the OpenStack family of open source projects, it is not clear that it will dominate the world of cloud computing.

Eucalyptus has also announced dramatic enhancements to its cloud computing platform (see Eucalyptus and Amazon work together to expand cloud adoption). Amazon, the current leader in the cloud marketplace, isn't standing still either.

Both OpenStack and Eucalyptus are playing the open source card in their attempts to be market leaders. Amazon continues to present its own single-vendor solution.

Who will win? At this moment Amazon is the leader. The others are gaining momentum.

Topics: Amazon, Software, Servers, Open Source, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Dell, Cloud, Storage


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • Misleading Title

    This promises to be an evaluation of leading cloud providers -- instead it's a puff-piece for Open Stack -- what a waste!
  • Umm...


    Did you do a Google search for cloud, navigate to the bottom, and place bets? The odds on favorite for cloud dominance is Juniper Networks. An easy bet for anyone 'in the know' or more likely, ex-Microsofties looking to heighten their personal portfolio while hedging their own bets. Follow the money trail (if not the destination of numerous ex-MS millionaires). Money has no love, hate, or allegiance. As the cloud grows, someone must be behind the scenes. Client software and OS' will be relegated to fools' bets.

    Ignore this information at your own peril.
  • The cloud is no longer a hope.

    The cloud is now 'self-aware'. Every major player (MSFT,APPL,GOOG) has embraced it in every possible way they could, and will continue to do so. Google placed their faith in it with Chromebooks. Apple placed their faith in it with iCloud. Microsoft placed their faith in it with Azure, Live! (messenger/Skype/Lync, Win8 appstore, click-through installations, device sync (WP7/8) and really, just about every known software/service they had previously marketed as 'single user' apps, (Office 365, Music (Zune), and to some degree their OS). The cloud is here, the masses just need to be informed. Like it or not, the new topology is SaaS (Software as a Service). For one, Linux could be the last hold out, or it too could possibly be swept up in the "cloud" storm. Either way, have no doubt, the storm is here. The matter of agreeing/accepting, or disagreeing/denying is all but futile. The next great landscape will be that of data-farms, servers, and backend support for the new, front-end, cloud. (don't shoot the messenger)