Billions of dollars are at stake in the next-generation of enterprise IT systems and in the past few days every big player in the industry has made big moves.
Today, Rackspace opened its first cloud built on technology its been working on for years, known as OpenStack. This is a cloud operating system built by over 160 would-be competitors to Amazon.
But competitors like VMware are thumbing their nose at it and at other open source methods for taking on Amazon.
“Last week, while the ugly sisters were squabbling, customers were getting on with business and choosing their Cinderella as VMware,” VMware’s Mathew Lodge, senior director, Cloud Product Marketing wrote in a blog post today.
Here’s the gist of the squabbling. Enterprises are completely changing the way they do IT. Instead of building more data centres and buying more servers and routers, they want to put their software in a cloud and let someone else manage the hardware.
Amazon is the gold standard for cloud computing — it offers more cloud services and has more customers than the others. But it’s also a closed proprietary system. If you want to build a cloud and compete with Amazon, sorry, you can’t have any of Amazon’s technology to do it. And if you are a customer using Amazon and you want to move to another cloud provider, it’s not so easy to do.
So companies that sell IT to enterprises have been tripping over themselves to come up with clouds let enterprises move between different hosting providers. The biggest such effort is Rackspace’s OpenStack, built on technology from NASA. Some 160 companies have helped built OpenStack and all of them — and anyone else — can take that work and build their own cloud using OpenStack.
For instance, HP last week launched a public beta of its cloud which uses OpenStack.
But companies were also complaining about how much control Rackspace had with OpenStack. So last week, Rackspace finally gave OpenStack to a newly formed foundation and 20 companies signed on to be key members including AT&T, Canonical, HP, IBM, Red Hat, Cisco, Dell, and Yahoo.
Meanwhile, Citrix is fighting with Rackspace (and Amazon). It has open source tech called CloudStack, and has signed on a whole bunch of companies to help build it.
Last week, Citrix gave CloudStack to the Apache Foundation, which is one of the biggest, most respected independent foundations for open source software.
But all this dinking around with foundations and collaborations has left these open source cloud vendors really far behind.
VMware points out that its proprietary vCloud platform has been deployed in 100 clouds already. That means that enterprises using vCloud can easily move around to different cloud vendors, right now.
At stake is a $241 billion market by 2020, according to Forrester Research.