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Gartner report throws cold water on uber-hyped OpenStack project

OpenStack backers respond to critique of open source cloud computing project

By , Network World
October 01, 2012 12:14 PM ET
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Network World - A scathing report about OpenStack from research firm Gartner warns businesses to beware of considerable hype and says misconceptions about the open source cloud computing project are leading to "dangerous myths" that are impacting IT adoption and investments.

OpenStack is a nascent technology driven by a group of self-serving vendors who are pushing their own agendas over the usability of the cloud management platform, argues Lydia Leong, the author of the report and a research VP at Gartner who focuses on cloud computing. As OpenStack hype continues to build, she says vendors are associating themselves with the project for marketing reasons, but are reticent about contributing significant resources to the broader goals of the project. Fragmentation created by the amalgamation of various interests undermines the interoperability among OpenStack-powered clouds and the ability of third-party support groups to manage OpenStack distributions.

OpenStack backers, in response, disagree. They specifically point to the project's momentum in recent weeks, including its launch of the OpenStack Foundation, the release of the latest OpenStack code, named Folsom, and organizers gearing up for the project's semi-annual OpenStack Summit this month to plan future development of OpenStack. Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, says the report "touches on a lot of different points," and said many of the criticisms could apply broadly to other cloud computing projects. "We're early on in this technology shift," he says.

Below are some of the assertions that Leong makes and the responses by OpenStack officials.

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Leong: "Hype around open-source CMPs (cloud management platforms) is causing some customers to make unfounded assumptions that may lead to poor sourcing decisions when they are choosing a CMP to build a private cloud, or when buying cloud IaaS from a service provider. Some people have been led to believe that because OpenStack is open source, it is an open and widely-adopted standard, with broad interoperability and freedom from commercial interests. In reality, OpenStack is dominated by commercial interests, as it is a business strategy for the vendors involved, not the effort of a community of altruistic individual contributors."

OpenStack: OpenStack officials say "hype" is in the eye of the beholder. "We prefer to think of it as excitement," says OpenStack Foundation COO Mark Collier, who's also held the title of Rackspace VP of business and corporate development. Standards, he says, is a "loaded word," and a project like OpenStack could only achieve such as a status through adoption, which he says is one of the OpenStack Foundation's primary focuses. The recently formed Foundation will serve as a uniting body that will bring the various interests within the project together for the good of OpenStack, he adds.

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