OpenStack: Will VARs Learn From Cloud Services Providers?
OpenStack, the open source cloud standard, seems to be catching on with more and more cloud services providers (CSPs). But I wonder if VARs are paying enough attention to OpenStack — which could have major long-term implications for how public and private cloud applications are deployed.
Some folks think OpenStack is only for large cloud services providers working on massive public or private cloud projects. Earlier today, for instance, Dell announced the Dell OpenStack Cloud Solution, which integrates OpenStack, Dell PowerEdge C servers, the Dell-developed “Crowbar” OpenStack installer, and services from Dell and Rackspace Cloud Builders.
Despite such lofty announcements, OpenStack isn’t just for big cloud projects. Instead, OpenStack positions itself for a range of audiences — including VARs and SMB customers.
But where do VARs and smaller MSPs (managed services providers) fit into the OpenStack conversation? Here’s one answer to that question: Rackspace was one of the first OpenStack proponents. And it’s a safe bet that the most profitable Rackspace channel partners — including small VARs — over the long haul will master one or more of the three core OpenStack components:
- OpenStack Compute
- OpenStack Object Storage
- OpenStack Image Service
Some folks think OpenStack could disrupt traditional virtualization companies like VMware. But I think OpenStack is more about portability — potentially giving large and small customers the flexibility to more easily migrate their SaaS applications from one cloud services provider to another. I also think service providers running OpenStack will emerge as a major alternative to Amazon Web Services.
Over the past year, the OpenStack effort has grown from 25 companies to 80 companies, notes Huffington Post. The lineup includes everyone from giants (Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Intel) to industry upstarts (Canonical, Nephoscale).
But I still wonder: Will small VARs wake up to the OpenStack opportunity? Or will those VARs sit on the sideline as big cloud services providers march forward with OpenStack?