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

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.

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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.