OpenStack: The Black Album

This year will signal the shift towards a more enterprise-oriented OpenStack ecosystem. It will come in many ways. At the same time that we see the warmer embrace from enterprise customers, a long sought after market, we also see divisive chatter among the community that OpenStack is at a dangerous crossroads in its direction of development.

Success Divides the Fan Base

metallica-black When San Francisco metal band Metallica released their Black album in 1991, it was met with critical acclaim, but also with disdain and resistance from many long-time fans of the band.

Why did commercial success suddenly signal that the band was no longer the band that had drawn so much of a fan base up to that point? Had they truly “sold out” as the early fans seemed to think? Or, had they just evolved?

With the guidance of successful producer, Bob Rock, Metallica reached 16 million copies sold of their fifth studio album, and an entirely new fan base. This was what allowed them to grow, evolve, and sustain their careers and brand for 24 years more. And there is no sign that they are done either.

In my opinion, OpenStack is looking for its Bob Rock, and will find it this year.

OpenStack Will Move Up the Stack

As the IaaS layers solidify, it opens the door for many of the growing efforts to embrace PaaS and container integration under the big tent.

This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. Less effort on plumbing, and more of a concerted effort to move to what really matters, which is the application layers.

Let’s be honest, the greatest buildings in the world are only great because they draw tenants. A beautifully designed building that sits empty is one that will fail. The same goes for private cloud and IT infrastructure.

Cloud Management Muddiness

what-exactly-is-a-cmp Too many products are being touted as Cloud Management Platforms. They aren’t. They are mostly orchestration frameworks that enable some workload automation, but the name is misleading.

Cloud Management implies that the cloud itself is also within the control of the platform. None of those to date have bridged that gap. I believe that we need to label the CMP as an AWMP. The Application and Workload Management Platform is one that brings the orchestration closer to self-service.

When I see vRealize, CloudForms, and AWS tools in the same graph, I know that we are using the wrong measurements to classify a CMP.

The need for vendors to be labeled as “Cloud” has forced the vagueness of this category. It’s no better than when every vendor tacked on a 2000 to their product name to seem relevant and forward-leaning.

Success of Private Cloud is up to Us

only-you OpenStack is ready. If anyone believes that it isn’t, then the reality is that they aren’t ready to consume IT in the way that IaaS is offering it.

There are lots of options to buy packaged OpenStack derivatives. It doesn’t need a team of engineers like many would have you believe. That’s just fear mongering. When vSphere made its early gains in the market, most of the admins that I worked with and spoke with had little to no Linux experience. That didn’t stop them from embracing a Linux-backed hyoervisor.

Prepare yourselves, OpenStack is coming. It’s better to be making educated decisions now than to have it suddenly show up and leave you scrambling to catch up to the skills that could make you a private cloud rock star like I know you can become!

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