Report: OpenStack Superfan Walmart Tells Partners to Avoid AWS Cloud

Walmart to partners: don't trust Amazon's cloud with our secrets.

Nicole Henderson, Content Director

June 21, 2017

2 Min Read
Report: OpenStack Superfan Walmart Tells Partners to Avoid AWS Cloud

Brought to you by ITPro

Walmart likes multi-cloud just fine, so long as none of those clouds are Amazon.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Walmart has been telling some partners and suppliers that their services should not run on Amazon Web Services cloud, instead pointing partners to Microsoft Azure.

A Walmart spokesperson said that although some suppliers do use AWS services, in some cases it is “wary of putting sensitive data on a competitor’s servers,” according to Fortune. Protecting competitive secrets and intellectual property continues to be a road block for some enterprises adopting cloud services.

Under the direction of Walmart Labs CTO Jeremy King, Walmart has standardized on OpenStack. As of October 2016, Walmart Labs had more than 170,000 cores running on the open source cloud platform.  

Through its acquisition of cloud management tool OneOps in 2013, Walmart Labs brought more experienced open source developers on board, and last year, open sourced OneOps. The company uses the tool internally to run the infrastructure behind its e-commerce sites. Using the open source software, any company could manage instances across AWS, Azure, and Rackspace.

WIRED wrote that the tool could “make it easier for some companies to use Amazon Web Services, since it will be easier to migrate applications between their own data centers and Amazon’s cloud – and they’ll have to worry less about getting locked in to Amazon’s services.”

“I think there’s a lot of concern about it is this, the ‘Hotel California’ problem: Once you move all your data and your apps in into the cloud, you absolutely cannot get out,” King told The New Stack last year. “It’s a real concern. So, as we built OneOps, we’ve been able to stay very cloud agnostic and move between not only internal cloud but external cloud for any computer.”

More recently Walmart released Lacinia, its GraphQL library for Clojure, which helps groups within the company access the immense amount of data. @WalmartLabs said GraphQL represents a “critical piece of its system from both a technical and cultural perspective.”

According to a thread on HackerNews, Walmart has also used Google Cloud Platform for some projects, and it has an OpenStack endpoint with Rackspace.

“Wal-mart has expected vendors to bow to its methods and policies for years, no matter how unreasonable or inconvenient. The carrot dangled in front of vendors: The possibility of massive nationwide sales,” one poster on the thread comments. “Now they are dealing with a much more nimble and capable competitor. Yes, Amazon has its own unreasonable policies that squeeze vendors, but at least they have reasonable tech in place and they move fast when it comes to support and service. Case in point: Applying to be a third-party seller on Amazon takes days, Wal-mart Marketplace takes 6 weeks.”

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About the Author(s)

Nicole Henderson

Content Director, Informa

Nicole Henderson is a content director at Informa, contributing to Channel Futures, The WHIR, and ITPro. 

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