OpenStack has grown amazingly and picked up serious corporate support in its first year. Understanding how helps to explain why the initiative has legs and where adopters should invest. While OpenStack has picked up a lot of industry partners, early participation by Dell and Citrix have been important to a meteoric trajectory.
So why are we (Dell) working so hard to light a fire under OpenStack?
To explain OpenStack support and momentum, we have to start with a self-reflective fact: Dell (my employer), Citrix and Rackspace are seeking to gain the dominate positions in their respective areas of “cloud.” Individually, we have competitors in more entrenched positions for cloud silos in solutions, ecosystem, and hypervisor; however, our competitors are not acting in concertto maintain their position.
OpenStack offers an opportunity for companies trying to gain market share to leverage the strengths of partners against their competitors.
The surprising aspect of OpenStack is how much better this collaboration is working in practice than in theory. This, dare I say it, synergistic benefit comes to OpenStack from all the partners (Dell, Citrix, Rackspace and others) working together because:
- Real scale clouds are big and complex with a lot of moving pieces (too big for a single vendor)
- A vibrant ecosystem needs to see commercial commitment from large players (and avoids lock-in)
- Having alternatives drives innovation and manages costs (because differentiation is still needed)
- Interlocking expertise is required (because no vendor has all the pieces)
- Customer needs are diverse and changing (since cloud is accelerating the rate of innovation)
Today, three major cloud players are standing together to demonstrate commitment to the community. This announcement is a foundation for the OpenStack ecosystem. In the next few months, I expect to see more and more collaborative announcements as the community proves the value of working together.
By aligning around an open platform, we collectively out flank previously dominant players who choose to go it alone. The technology is promising; however, the power of OpenStack flows mainly from the ecosystem that we are building together.