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Maybe OpenStack has legs after all: Red Hat taps once-skeptical Gartner analyst to lead group

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Alessandro Perilli, a high-profile Gartner(s it) analyst on data center strategies, is joining Red Hat(s rhat) to run its OpenStack-based hybrid cloud program. Normally such a move wouldn’t raise eyebrows, but this is an interesting hire for a few reasons.

First, Red Hat has been trying to replicate its success with Linux in cloud and PaaS with its OpenStack-based hybrid cloud and OpenShift PaaS. Second, Perilli has been very public about his concerns about OpenStack’s suitability for use in enterprise cloud deployments.

Sources confirmed Perilli’s move but he would not comment. A Red Hat spokeswoman said the company had no news to share. Thus far the only public sign of Perilli’s move was his tweet that Friday is his last day at Gartner.

There’s sort of revolving door between top analysts and vendors in the fields they cover (sort of analogous to the Capital Hill-lobbyist vicious cycle in Washington.) In January, another big-time Gartner name, Chris Wolf joined VMware as CTO for the Americas, for example.

Update: Red Hat announced Perilli’s appointment as GM of its new Open Hybrid Cloud Program  on March 25.


18 Responses to “Maybe OpenStack has legs after all: Red Hat taps once-skeptical Gartner analyst to lead group”

  1. Paul Smith

    Alessandro – any comments on how private cloud vendors will compete on a ROI basis after the recent massive price cuts from Google and AWS? As it was, most cost comparisons were in favor of public clouds (even in studies that ignored some of the headcount costs involved with running private clouds, and datacenter facility costs). Now with 50+% reduction in storage and 30+% reduction in compute prices, the cost advantage shifts much more in favor of AWS and GCP. And you know these two bad boys – they have the lowest cost basis due to their sheer scale, and will keep on reducing prices. They are rapidly driving the IT industry towards commoditization. Do private clouds really stand a chance of competing going forward? Most on-premise vendors are not setup for such low margin/high volume scenarios..

  2. Alessandro Perilli

    thanks for showing interest and commenting the news. I appreciate and respect every perspective. However, I don’t think that my (in)famous Gartner post on OpenStack impacts in any way my credibility now that I am in Red Hat.
    In fact, I even highlight that post in my Red Hat blog where I explain why I joined the company:

    I invite you to read it and pay attention to my wording, which I hope shows how my position remains absolutely consistent with what I previously said as a Gartner analyst (inside and outside the company).

    For any follow up, feel free to contact me directly.

    Thank you

  3. Man I need to stop being side tracked by my day job. How did I miss @gino moving to the OpenStack vendor side of the isle. I have to agree with the sentiments. I haven’t been the biggest fan of OpenStack in the enterprise (I’m a believer on the provider side). But Perilli has been pretty outspoken on his view of OpenStack in the enterprise. To be fair, one of his points is the lack of focus on the vendor side so he does have the claim that he can help bring that focus at Redhat.

    He has his work cut out for him. I haven’t seen a flavor of private OpenStack I’d recommend to non-devops heavy enterprise environments. He has some convincing to do especially given his previous position.

    On another note. What’s with Gartner Analysts that were critical of the primary vendors they covered now working for the vendor. Chris Wolf was VMware’s primary analyst at Gartner and as such had a very close working relationship with VMware. He was very critical of VMware not just a few months ago and is now it’s America’s CTO. Now Perilli who was critical of the OpenStack project is now working in a senior role at an major OpenStack contributor.

  4. Ray Nugent

    When OpenStack becomes 1) easy to deploy and 2) easy to maintain/upgrade enterprises will adopt en mass. Vendors are trying to fix this but have a ways to go in no small part because their business model emphasizes services (for deployment and maintenance…)

  5. Lydia Leong

    OpenStack penetration in the large enterprise *is* minimal. OpenStack’s own user adoption survey shows this. The OpenStack-in-the-enterprise even that I did in Silicon Valley (the SolidFire-and-Solinea-sponsored one) was very open about this fact, since one of its key purposes was to identify what would be needed to drive enterprise adoption outside of the early-adopter verticals.

    • Greg Knieriemen

      Lydia: Is there any Gartner research to support the claims you and Alessandro keep making? You are Gartner after all – if you are going to make a claim like that, at least back it up with some research.

      The OpenStack survey was an unscientific, voluntary and anonymous survey to provide a snapshot of the market and was never intended to definitively represent the market.

      OpenStack is a very young 3 years old and the adoption curve is going to be a long one. This isn’t like adopting server virtualization – when companies adopt OpenStack (or any private cloud solution), they are architecting for the whole data center. The planning, architecting and budgeting is typically a 12 – 18 month process before it’s actually rolled out. To make claims about “penetration” purely by deployments at this point is ridiculous.

      I can tell you first hand that interest in OpenStack from large enterprises is very high with some of the largest retailers and financial institutions in the U.S. That interest ranges from simple exploration, planning/budgeting to early test deployments – which is exactly where you should expect it to be at this point.

      • Ray Nugent

        I agree, we also see great interest in large enterprise and SPs. The advent of easy to deploy software based networking like Plumgrid is really piquing interest.

      • Gordon Haff


        I’m not sure why you think limited current enterprise adoption of OpenStack is inconsistent with a great deal of interest with adoption to come. While I’m sometimes a bit critical of Gartner as overly focusing on trends that are already happening in the large enterprise customer base, my criticism here is more in the external interpretation of not yet being ready for mainstream adoption with somehow being a failing on the part of OpenStack. In fact, there are a lot of parallels with Linux adoption (as I’ve written) in that the early users were mostly Internet infrastructure companies.

      • Cesar Pinto

        I can see where you come from, we also see high interest here in Red Hat :-) not to get trapped in semantics but interest does not equal adoption.

        The Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing for 2013 offers *some* market analysis of the state of openstack under “Open Source Cloud Management Platforms”

        Quality survey material will continue to be scarce at this point.

  6. Well maybe they just gave him a great role and a massive raise. Like with VMware getting desparate to get AWS folks, and offering Simone Bruzzoni a VP/chief technologist role (and he was a lowly individual contributor at AWS).
    In other words, his move might have more to do with the role/compensation they offered him.

  7. Nik Simpson

    So Alessandro lacks credibility because he’s had the temerity to publicly criticize OpenStack. Yeah, right, because the one thing OpenStack really needs right now is more mindless cheerleading!

    • Greg Knieriemen

      Nik: He went to one OpenStack conference and walked away claiming “OpenStack penetration in the large enterprise market is minimal” with no research cited – not even Gartner research – to support the ridiculous claim.

      • Cesar Pinto

        Would you say OpenStack penetration in the Large Enterprise market is more than minimal? do you have access to any research to suggest otherwise? If you do I would be happy to see some!

    • I just read some of Alessandro’s commentary about OpenStack. Frankly, I can see why they hired him, he has a clear point of view about what needs to be done — and he communicates his assessment with conviction.