OpenStack and Cloud Foundry Poised to Transform Managed Services

OpenStack and Cloud Foundry are two emerging IT trends that will most certainly transform managed services in the years ahead. They both represent a significant evolution in the open source IT management landscape.

Mike Vizard, Contributing Editor

June 27, 2014

2 Min Read
OpenStack and Cloud Foundry Poised to Transform Managed Services

There are two great macro IT trends emerging that will most certainly transform the managed services landscape as we know it in the years ahead. The first is the open source OpenStack cloud management framework, while the second is the open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment.

While neither of these frameworks is going to transform the IT world overnight, they both represent a significant evolution in the open source IT management landscape. In the case of OpenStack, the obvious benefit is that it provides managed service providers with an alternative to expensive proprietary cloud management frameworks from vendors such as VMware.

OpenStack remains immature

The primary challenge with OpenStack today is its relative immaturity. It’s complex to implement and maintain and there’s also a fair amount of concern about the level of interoperability that will actually be available across various OpenStack distributions.

For that reason a lot of managed service providers are starting to look past OpenStack. As a PaaS environment Cloud Foundry gives MSPs access to a higher level of abstraction for managing applications. Case in point is Canopy, a joint venture among Atos SE, EMC and VMware that provides managed Cloud Foundry services.

Cloud Foundry as a PaaS

MSPs will still need a cloud management framework alongside a Cloud Foundry PaaS environment. Most customers today have VMware in place alongside a smattering of Microsoft. There’s no doubt that OpenStack will find acceptance alongside cloud management frameworks from VMware and Microsoft; it’s just unlikely it will completely supplant either of them any time soon.

By comparison, Cloud Foundry is more a green field opportunity. Most customers have no yet made a move to PaaS and the consortium that drives development of Cloud Foundry is committed to making it work on any cloud platform. The end result is that MSPs have a much better chance of getting Cloud Foundry deployed on both the cloud they build and the ones built by their customers than they do trying to accomplish the same thing with OpenStack.

What customers don’t know: the MSP opportunity

Of course, possibly the best thing about both OpenStack or Cloud Foundry is customers have little to no expertise with either one. They are increasingly becoming familiar with why they need them. But to actually adopt either one it is clear customers are going to need the expertise of an MSP.

Both OpenStack and Cloud Foundry should reduce the cost of being an MSP. The only challenge is figuring out to what degree either framework should be embraced given that both of them are still very much a work in progress.

Mike Vizard is a top IT journalist with 30 years experience covering enterprise IT. He has served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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About the Author(s)

Mike Vizard

Contributing Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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