OpenStack: An Emerging Standard for Cloud Services Providers?
If Rackspace builds it will you come? That’s the key question facing OpenStack, an open source cloud platform that Rackspace is promoting to rival cloud services providers (CSPs). But why would Rackspace want rival CSPs to standardize their platforms? And what are the potential benefits to VARs and managed services providers? Here’s some insight.
Simply put, Rackspace hopes OpenStack protects customers from proprietary cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Windows Azure. Jim Curry, chief stacker for OpenStack, describes the strategy more fully in the FastChat video above.
Do solutions providers really need a platform like OpenStack? Before you answer consider a true-life horror story involving a major television network headquartered in New York.
Sources say the TV network tried to leverage Amazon Web Services during a major sporting event. But when AWS suffered technical setbacks, the TV network was unable to rapidly retrieve its content from AWS. Plus, there was no easy way for the TV network to move its cloud applications to a different service provider, according to a large Cisco integrator involved in the project.
Freedom to Move
Now, let’s apply that nightmare scenario to the OpenStack project. If numerous CSPs embrace OpenStack, then customers can more easily move their SaaS applications from one cloud services provider to the next, Rackspace claims.
Sounds great. But here’s the nightmare scenario for Rackspace: If OpenStack really takes off with multiple service providers, won’t it be easier for customers to leave the Rackspace cloud and embrace rival clouds? The answer: Yes.
But during the Rackspace Partner Leadership Summit, CEO Lanham Napier said “fanatical support” will keep customers loyal to Rackspace’s cloud. To wit, two-thirds of Rackspace’s employee base (2,000 of 3,000 employees) focus on customer support, Napier asserted.
Of course, OpenStack remains a work in progress. It’s basically an emerging technology that won’t reach production CSP systems until at least 2011. But stay tuned. Rackspace is pretty darn serious about making OpenStack an open industry standard.