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Open-source cloud players prep for Structure debate, and maybe a group hug

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How has the open-source cloud landscape changed in the last two years? There’s certainly been a lot of moving and shaking, but how much traction has there been in terms of corporate deployment?

That’s one huge question that Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos, Citrix(s ctrx) Group VP Sameer Dholakia and Nebula founder Chris Kemp will be asked about at Structure next month.

Two years ago at the same event, the three execs agreed that the world is very early into the cloud era — Dholakia put us in the second inning. And they went on to debate, rather passionately, about the nature of closed and open clouds and the value of Amazon Web Services API support to the rest of the ecosystem. One panelist even cast doubt on whether two of the three would even still be in the game in a year or two. It got a little heated, but there was a nice “hug it out” moment at the end.

group hug

Between them, the panelists represented (and still represent)  three open-source cloud camps — Eucalyptus focuses on AWS-compatible private cloud infrastructure; Citrix nurtured CloudStack, now an Apache Foundation project; and Nebula offers an OpenStack-based appliance that can drop into existing data centers or server rooms. Kemp was formerly CTO of NASA and thus one of OpenStack’s founding fathers.

Here’s what I’d like to hear from these guys this time out, taking some cues from their previous Structure talk:

  • 1: How many open-source clouds will the market truly support? Demand may be big for cloud — but is there really room for 6 or 7 flavors of OpenStack plus CloudStack plus Eucalyptus plus OpenNebula? What’s the likelihood of consolidation in the next year?
  • 2: Does everyone now agree that supporting the Amazon’s cloud APIs is critical even if some think AWS is, as Kemp described it, “the Walmart(S wmt) of cloud” in that it is “reasonably fast, reasonably secure, reasonably priced, reasonably performant” but not super great at any of those things.
  • 3: Who’s moving faster, AWS into enterprise “private” cloud — as evidenced by its CIA cloud work — or enterprise IT players — Microsoft, IBM, HP, VMware — into public cloud?
  • 4: Can any of the legacy IT powers — VMware with its near-monopoly of on-site server virtualization or Microsoft which is in nearly every data center — recreate that monopolistic power in cloud?
  • 5: Can telecom-rooted companies — Verizon(s vz), CenturyLink(s ctl), AT&T(s t) parlay their network and bandwidth scale to break into the top tier of cloud providers?
  • 6: Is public cloud leader AWS more dominant now than it was two years ago, or are giant efforts by Google and Microsoft starting to make themselves felt? AWS isn’t the only one cutting prices these days, after all.
  • 7: Is OpenStack becoming the Linux of cloud —  a widely adopted set of compatible distributions from several vendors? Or is it the Unix of cloud — with too many slightly different versions available from different vendors?

So many questions and so little time. But we’ll make sure to leave time for another group hug once the dust clears.


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