For years, SUSE, the European Linux and open-source company, was one of the OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud program's champions. No longer. SUSE has decided to cease production of new versions and to discontinue sales of SUSE OpenStack Cloud.
This comes only a few months after SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 was released. This was based on the OpenStack Rocky. release and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 SP4. It was also the first release to integrate HPE's Helion OpenStack. SUSE had acquired HPE cloud assets three years earlier.
Why the sudden shift? SUSE stated, "SUSE is focusing on and increasing our strategic investments in the application delivery market and its opportunities in order to align with technology trends in the industry and, most important, with our customers' needs. So SUSE will be working more on its Kubernetes-based application delivery offerings, SUSE Cloud Application Platform and SUSE CaaS Platform." SUSE also hinted there would be "future technology acquisitions."
In an e-mail, Michael Miller, SUSE's president of corporate development and strategic alliances, said, "SUSE is focusing and increasing our strategic investments on the application delivery market and its opportunities in order to align with technology trends in the industry and, most important, with our customers' needs. These adjustments will allow SUSE to better align resources with our customer needs, strategic direction and market opportunities. This additional focus will fuel SUSE's momentum as a forward-looking, independent open-source company with exciting objectives for growth and innovation."
As for SUSE's existing OpenStack customers, "We are working closely with all affected customers and partners to support them through their remaining subscription period and as they transition to alternatives."
Boris Renski, co-founder/CMO of Mirantis, another early OpenStack company which remains committed to the platform, said, "Mirantis stands ready to help support the transition of any customer who continues to value the business benefits of OpenStack." He added, "SUSE has long been a vital, resourceful ally in the OpenStack community and we will miss their contributions and leadership."
SUSE will maintain and grow its commitment to its enterprise Linux server offering, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and its Ceph-based software-defined storage program, SUSE Enterprise Storage.
This move comes only two months after SUSE changed CEOs. Melissa Di Donato, SAP's former COO, was named SUSE'S CEO in July. Di Donato was given the job to further SUSE's growth and expansion. She had not, however, given any specifics on how she'd go about this. With this move, it appears, Di Donato believes SUSE needs to focus more on the Kubernetes-based hybrid cloud.
As for OpenStack, the organization behind the cloud is taking a pragmatic view. In an e-mail, Mark Collier, the OpenStack Foundation's COO, said, "The market for OpenStack distributions is settling on a core group of highly supported, well-adopted players, just as has happened with Linux and other large-scale, open source projects. All companies adjust strategic priorities from time to time, and for those distro providers that continue to focus on providing open-source infrastructure products for containers, VMs and bare metal in private cloud, OpenStack is the market's leading choice."
Collier doesn't see SUSE leaving the OpenStack ecosystem as a sign that OpenStack is in trouble:
"Looking forward to 2022, market watchers like 451 Research see an emerging $11+ billion combined market for OpenStack and Kubernetes, with $7.7 billion of that focused on OpenStack. As the overall open source cloud market continues its march toward eight figures in revenue and beyond—most of it concentrated in OpenStack products and services—it's clear that the natural consolidation of distros is having no impact on adoption."