Why OpenStack Matters: Cloud Insiders Weigh In

Last evening, I reported on the emergence of OpenStack, an open-source cloud project backed by Rackspace (s RAX) and supported by NASA and two dozen other companies. Since the initial news was released, a lot of folks have been sharing their sentiments about the offering and why they think it is important.

Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix, the company behind the open source Xen hypervisor:

VMware has been playing the “we invented the cloud” drum-roll for a couple of years now, but has yet to deliver its first enterprise-ready cloud product — vCloud — which is being developed in a project codenamed Redwood. It is likely that vCloud will be formally announced at VMWorld later this year, but with an announcement today of the OpenStack project, the open source community has re-asserted its claim to leadership in cloud computing, offering a complete open source cloud infrastructure platform developed by a powerful community of collaborators that share a commitment to free, open source, hypervisor and API-agnostic, standards-based cloud infrastructure that will meet the needs of enterprises and service providers alike.

Thorsten von Eicken, CTO of Rightscale, a cloud management startup:

The bottom line is that we believe this to be a potentially game changing event. I expect we’ll see a good number of companies contributing code to this project… having many fragmented cloud efforts doesn’t really help build a compelling alternative to Amazon [who keeps] adding incredible new features at a blazing pace. And the industry needs an alternative to Amazon, not because of some problem with AWS, but because in the long run cloud computing cannot fulfill its promise to revolutionizing the way computing is consumed if there aren’t a multitude of vendors with offerings targeting different use-cases, different needs, different budgets, different customer segments, etc. OpenStack promises to build enough momentum to create an exciting cloud offering that is as feature-rich as AWS, that is implemented by a number of service providers, like RackSpace, and that enterprises can also run internally, like NASA. Of course, at this point it’s just the beginning, we’ll have to see how the first complete release shapes up at the end of the year.

Misha Govshteyn Co-Founder & CTO of Alert Logic:

Until now, IaaS providers competed on the strength of their ability to rapidly advance their software capabilities. By commoditizing the software behind infrastructure clouds and pulling in a sizeable development community Rackspace may be able to force Amazon to compete on their own terms — the strength of being a service provider. I expect OpenStack to not only be successful, but have real impact on the way cloud computing evolves, if for no other reason than it allows Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers to actually focus on service.

Larry Digan of ZDNet:

Simply put, OpenStack is a powerful idea and the timing is good. Dell indicated that it plans to feature OpenStack on its systems for open source cloud deployments. Dell is talking the anti-lock-in message as rivals build enterprise IT stacks. However, OpenStack will need more hardware providers — notably IBM and HP — if it’s going to crack the enterprise and garner momentum.

Bob Warfield of Helpstream:

Open Stack is a good response, at least it is something, and from a company that actually is in the Cloud. As I said in the beginning, it will be a function of how well the Kieretsu cooperate.

Enstratus, a cloud management software company:

This is the opportunity (and has the combined cerebral weight) to offer a fundamentally more sound and well-thought-out approach to dozens of individually daunting technical issues. The goal is audacious enough… to provide a best-of-breed solution for the entire cloud computing stack from consumer API all the way down to hypervisor management.