OpenStack should cede public cloud race to Amazon, says founding member

OpenStack should cede public cloud race to Amazon, says founding member

Summary: OpenStack should rely on the APIs of dominant public clouds by Amazon and Google and not tie itself to Rackspace, according to Cloudscaling CTO Randy Bias.

TOPICS: Cloud, Amazon

As OpenStack celebrates its third birthday, some in the community are calling on members to wrest control of its public cloud compatibility strategy from Rackspace, or else slide into irrelevance.

According to Randy Bias, a founding member of OpenStack and CTO of Cloudscaling, OpenStack is not a contender in public cloud race, which he says has already been won by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and possibly Google Compute Engine (GCE). 

Therefore, he argues, the OpenStack community's interests would be best served by ending the view that AWS (and GCE) is the natural enemy and instead embrace it as a public cloud that is compatible with OpenStack, whose real potential is as a leading of hybrid and private clouds.

"It is clear that AWS (and quite likely GCE) will utterly dominate the public cloud race. But more importantly, who cares? Dominance by AWS and GCE does not mean that OpenStack fails. In fact, OpenStack is clearly on a trajectory to "win" the private cloud race, and a rapid embracing of Amazon will put OpenStack in the pole position to dominate hybrid cloud," Bias wrote in a blogpost on Wednesday.

One would-be public cloud contender, Dell, for example, recently dropped its OpenStack-based public cloud plans to focus on private cloud implementations on Dell hardware.    

According to Bias, the chance that other companies will float a series of OpenStack public clouds is "low to miniscule at this point".

"AWS and GCE already have position, global reach, rapid feature iteration and growth rates that establish their leadership. What can stop them? Frankly, there are no contenders on the radar," he notes.

Changing tack would also mean renaming elements of OpenStack that have been influenced by Rackspace, such as the OpenStack Nova API.

Bias points out that OpenStack's Nova compute fabric controller, contributed by NASA, was in the first place compatible with EC2. However, Rackspace has since contributed what it's calling a 'native' OpenStack API called nova-api that is 'largely identical' to the Rackspace Cloud Services public cloud service API. (He wants OpenStack to rename the Nova API to the Rackspace Cloud Servers API.)

The threat looming over OpenStack if it does not embrace AWS for the public cloud is that AWS erodes its chances to dominate private and hybrid cloud markets. As Bias points out, AWS is already beginning to ramp up its private cloud services like AWS GovCloud.

Topics: Cloud, Amazon

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • No.


    It's not a race - the goal is competition, not a monopoly. Maybe they have to change things, but I do not think "give up and quit" should be on the table.

    "But more importantly, who cares? Dominance by AWS and GCE does not mean that OpenStack fails."

    This I agree with.
  • OpenStack carries the hopes of its commercial sponsors

    Well, Mr. Bias is mostly correct, although I would avoid the use of the term "cloud race" but it is used quite often in the IT business to describe what is in effect competition for market share and commercial success. To his list of AWS EC2 and Google GCE, as the dominant web-scale cloud services infrastructure providers, it would be appropriate to add Microsoft Azure. However, his comment about OpenStacks "place" in private and hybrid clouds overlooks the fact that regional public cloud services infrastructure players are likely to achieve market acceptance and commercial success on their own merits using OpenStack or Apache CloudStack. I do agree that OpenStack should give more than lip service to AWS API compatibility. On the private cloud side, Eucalyptus looks smart to have reached an agreement with AWS over API support several years ago. Whether they will emerge as a commercially successful provider of private/hybrid cloud services still remains to be seen. There may be no room at the top of the cloud computing food chain for new entrants, but there would seem to be plenty of opportunity for public cloud providers not destined for world domination.