OpenStack: is it a PaaS killer? The week in cloud

As the OpenStack Havana release went live last week, controversy over the viability of the open source cloud continued to swirl, this time thanks to a set of dueling blog posts.

On Saturday, Simon Wardley posted a blog post expressing his grave doubts that the OpenStack cloud can reach its potential to be the basis of a competitive public cloud ecosystem.

“I don’t see a benevolent dictator or a flourishing market of competitive providers with easy switching between them at scale. I do see a collective prisoner dilemma, a refocus on private cloud (a future niche) and capitulation in the public space with Amazon(s amzn) and Google(S goog) gaining speed.”

Wardley, a researcher at CSC’s(s csc) Leading Edge Forum, recommended that folks who want to see a booming open-source cloud ecosystem turn instead to Cloud Foundry, the open-source PaaS backed by Pivotal, the EMC/VMware spinoff.

“I’ve got high hopes for Cloud Foundry to create a competitive market at the platform space around open source. I would wish that companies rather than trying to introduce alternative approaches which blur the market in order to support their dying past business models would just adopt. I expect them to however argue that differentiation on a commodity is key and the same old nonsense be repeated again.”

The OpenStack gang will likely have a vivid response to this. Wardley’s post seems at least partly a reaction to an earlier Mirantis blog. There Alex Friedland, co-founder of Mirantis, a member of the OpenStack Foundation, posited that the addition of richer feature sets layered atop OpenStack foundations  — like the metering and orchestration— in Havana will kill third-party PaaSes. He cited Cloud Foundry and Red Hat OpenShift specifically as potential victims. Yikes.

That caused quite the outburst in the twitterverse, especially given that Red Hat is a primary contributor to OpenStack and the game plan of Cloud Foundry is to provide a cloud-agnostic PaaS layer atop AWS, OpenStack, whatever.

And, the whole notion of adding PaaSy capabilities to IaaS is hardly new. Amazon Web Services(S amzn) has been doing this for years.

Still, please use comments to register your thoughts on this controversy. Will a feature-rich OpenStack negate the need for PaaSes? Or is this a specious argument? Serious question.

Everyone can probably agree that discussions at the OpenStack Summit next month will be lively and one key concern — the ability of different vendors’ OpenStack clouds to interoperate — will be one topic of conversation.

Other cloud news from around the interwebz:

From GigaOM: VMware makes desktop virtualization move in buying Desktone.

From Seeking Alpha: Amazon announces new Cloudfront CDN features.

From Data Center Dynamics VMware brings cloud services to Europe.