OpenStack and Amazon’s cloud: Friends or foes?

OpenStack's integration elephant in the room

OpenStack Amazon Web Services

OpenStack Executive Director Jonathan Bryce speaks during the project's Austin Summit. 

Credit: OpenStack Foundation

Four years ago tensions between OpenStack and Amazon Web Services were at a high. The open source cloud computing platform was being developed as an alternative to AWS’s and members of the community spoke despairingly about the public cloud behemoth.

Fast-forward to today, and the relationship between these two cloud platforms seems quite undefined.

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which cloud connect to OpenStack Foundation survey

Amazon Web Services is the top cloud that OpenStack users connect to. 

According to OpenStack’s survey of its members, AWS was the top cloud that OpenStack users connect their clouds to. More than three-quarters of respondents claimed to provide integration between their OpenStack clouds and AWS. But at the OpenStack Summit this week in Austin, Amazon seems to be somewhat of an elephant in the room: No one’s really talking about it.

During the Day 1 keynote, AWS was not mentioned. OpenStack is a cloud conference and Amazon Web Services is arguably the most dominant vendor in the cloud market. Furthermore, users attending this conference show they connect their clouds to AWS.

After the keynotes OpenStack Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Bryce told me there are efforts within the OpenStack Community to codify formal integration between the open source software and AWS. There’s a working group working on integration with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) but, he said it’s basically just not a high priority in the overall Nova compute project.

Some people argue the OpenStack project doesn't need to provide integration with AWS; vendors will do that for customers. Alan Clark, the chairman of the OpenStack Board of Directors and Director of Open Source at SUSE, says his company’s software runs on customers’ premises and in AWS. Red Hat, Ubuntu and a myriad of other OpenStack vendor products run in both environments and enable customers to build hybrid clouds spanning the two.

At the conference officials from Microsoft are here touting their integrations with OpenStack. Why can’t AWS and OpenStack just get along?

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