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A few weeks ago, Gartner analyst Allessandro Perilli recently says the project has a long way to go before it’s truly an enterprise-grade platform. In fact, in a blog post he says that “despite marketing efforts by vendors and favorable press, enterprise adoption remains in the very earliest stages” … The main reasons for that, in its opinion, are:

  • Lack of clarity about what OpenStack does.
  • Lack of transparency about the business model.
  • Lack of differentiation.
  • Lack of pragmatism.

OpenStack backers rebuffed such claims, and I must recognize that I’m biased because I work in a European company (Tissat, based in Spain, and with several DataCentres and one of them -Walhalla- certified as Tier IV by the Uptime Institute) that offer IaaS Services using OpenStack. But I also have to recognize that OpenStack is a solution that is continuously evolving and growing, and therefore I agree with some of the statement of Mr.  Perilli, but I disagree with its main conclusion:

Maybe he’s right and the fact that big companies are contributing to its code as well as they also are supporting and using it to deliver services it’s unusual, but let me mention some of them that are supporting and using it: RackSpace and Nasa (maybe they aren’t the biggest, but they were the first ones), IBM (IBM’s open cloud architecture), HP (HP Cloud Services), Cisco (WebEx Service), they don’t seem small player, do they?  (I beg your pardon for the irony). Besides, relatively smaller companies are contributing to, supporting and selling services on OpenStack as the traditional Linux Distro Providers: RedHat, Novell (Suse), Canonical (Ubuntu). Finally other big player that are using OpenSack are PayPal-eBay, Yahoo, CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), ComCast, MercadoLibre, Inc. (e-commerce services), San Diego Supercomputer Center, and so on., that aren’t small player either …

Could you think in player in the IT providers market as big as the firsts mentioned? Sure, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, … Well, surprise, last week Oracle announced that they embrace OpenSatck. Yes, although Oracle acquired Nimbula on March (and maybe the Nimbula shift from its own proprietary private cloud approach to become an OpenStack-compatible software supplier was the first sign of the change), they are going to integrates OpenStack cloud with its technologies: “Oracle Sponsors OpenStack Foundation; Offers Customers Ability To Use OpenStack To Manage Oracle Cloud Products and Services”. Oracle’s announcement said that:

  • Oracle Linux will include integrated OpenStack deployment capabilities.
  • Solaris too will get OpenStack deployment integrations
  • Oracle Compute Cloud and Oracle Storage Cloud services will be integrated with OpenStack
  • Likewise, Oracle ZS3 Series network attached storage, Axoim Storage Systems, and StorageTek Tape Systems will all get integrated.
  • Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud hardware for running applications will get its own OpenStack integration as well.
  • And so on.

i.e. Oracle speaks about a significant new support for OpenStack in an extremely ambitious manner, pretty much saying that it would support OpenStack as a management framework across an expansive list of Oracle products. Evidently, Oracle movement is a great support for OpenStacck (and for my thesis, too, and probably another point against Mr. Pirelli’s opinion) …

However, to be honest,  let me doubt (at the moment) about the ultimate motivations and objectives of Oracle: I’ve got the impression that Oracle is simply ceding to the pressing of the market, adjusting to the sign of the times, but it’s not committed to what makes OpenStack means: a collaborative and inclusive community: On one hand,  as I stated that in my  “Cloud Movements (2nd part): Oracle’s fight against itself (and the OpenStack role)”  post that Oracle is fighting against itself due to its traditional and profitable business model is challenged by the Cloud model, and it has been delaying its adoption as much as possible (as IBM did when its mainframes ran mission-critical applications on legacy databases, and a new -by then- generation of infrastructure vendors -DEC, HP, Sun, Microsoft and Oracle- challenged it and disrupted the old IBM model): it was conflicted about selling the lower-priced, lower-margin servers needed to run them (even Oracle CEO Larry Ellison used to disdain Cloud Computing, e.g. he called cloud computing “nonsense” in 2009). On the other hand, the recent Oracle announce doesn’t necessarily imply a change in this matter.

Besides the Oracle movement raise suspicions, even disbelief, not only in me but in other people. Let me quote some paragraphs of Randy Bias’ (co-founder and CEO of cloud software supplier CloudScalin post titled “Oracle Supports OpenStack: Lip Service Or Real Commitment?”. Randy’s position could be summarized in its words Oracle is the epitome of a traditional enterprise vendor and to have it announce this level of support for OpenStack is astonishing”. Randy also wonders “Can Oracle engage positively with the open-source meritocracy that OpenStack represents? Admittedly, at first blush it’s hard to be positive, given Oracle’s walled-garden culture.” And to back its answer, Randy review some Oracle facts:

  • Oracle essentially ended OpenSolaris as an open-source project, leaving third-party derivatives of OpenSolaris (such as those promulgated by Joyent and Nexenta) out in the cold, having to fork OpenSolaris to Illumos.
  • Similarly, the open-source community’s lack of trust can be seen ultimately in the forking of MySQL into MariaDB over concerns about Oracle’s support and direction of the MySQL project. Google moved to MariaDB, and all of the major Linux distributions are switching to it as well”.

However, finally Randy concludes: It’s hard not to have a certain amount of pessimism about Oracle’s announcement. However, I’m hopeful that this signals an understanding of the market realities and that its intentions are in the right place. We will know fairly soon how serious it is based on code contributions to OpenStack, which can be tracked at Stackalytics. (So far, there are zero commits from Oracle and only two from Nimbula, Oracle’s recent cloud software acquisition.). Personally, I’m happy to see Oracle join the party. It further validates the level of interest in OpenStack from the enterprise and reinforces that we’re all building a platform for the future”.

And the last words of Randy gets me back to my initial point: I really think OpenStack is already a mature enough platform to make business (in all the ways other IT products or solutions) as the giants and other big companies of IT area are showing (IBM, HP, Cisco, Oracle, RackSpace, Yahoo, PayPal, ComCast, RedHat, Novell, Canonical, etc.).

Finally, let me end this post with some partial pictures extracted from an Infographic elaborated by OpenStack (you can get the whole infographic here).

The current OpenStack deployment comprises 56 countries:

Current OpenStack Deployments

Covering any-size organizations and a wide range of industry sectors:

Current OpenSatck Organizations Size        Current OpenStack Industry Sectors

Besides, any type of deployments is currently made:

Current OpenStack Type of Deployments

And currently the 10 types of applications most deployed on OpenStack are:

Current OpenStack Type of Workloads