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OpenStack Summit Through the Enterprise Looking Glass: If you Dev It, Users Will Come

It’s tradeshow season here at CTERA Enterprises… and we’re meeting with customers all around the world to architect the modernization of the data center, the transformation of the branch office, and the mobilization of the smart worker. We’re fortunate to have the support of terrific technology partners who, in turn, are working with us to transform businesses into cloud-connected enterprises.

We just last week inaugurated our first OpenStack Summit and after seeing 1000s of cloud builders, it makes sense to give my loyal readers CTERA’s state of the market from an enterprise IT vendor’s perspective.

OpenStack Summit Atlanta 2014:

openstack summit logo

  • 5-day conference for worldwide developers, users, and administrators of OpenStack Cloud Software
  • 4,500 Attendees in 2014
  • Attendance doubled vs 2013’s Summit

For those of you who don’t know what OpenStack is, I would simply say that OpenStack is being billed as the “Linux of the Cloud” – think of this as open-source software used for building public and private clouds, with a focus on Infrastructure and the tools for building “Infrastructure as a Service” for people that want to deploy their own kit.

Me, I just call it Android. There are a good number of parallels between the smartphone market and the cloud infrastructure market today. If you’re not so versed in cloud, allow me to break this down.

amazon is to apple as openstack is to android

Allow me to explain:

  • Amazon provides a highly engineered and tightly controlled IaaS environment to users exclusively on amazon HW through Amazon Web Services (and their partners and distributors). Apple provides a proprietary smart device operating system exclusively on Apple devices and is sold through Apple channels.
  • OpenStack is a predominately open-source software platform that can be downloaded and deployed on your choice of HW, and is being widely supported by a variety of well-known vendors who… for all intents and purposes… don’t have the ability to deploy Amazon clouds. Android takes a similar approach, where Google has made available an open source smartphone stack that is customizable and available on any variety of devices.

The parallels to the smartphone go beyond this (both have built an ‘app’ ecosystem, adoption curves, etc.) – but the thing that strikes me most is the markets reaction to disruptive technologies and how the ‘rising tide can float many boats’ at one time when these disruptions happen. Before we get into the whole OpenStack vs. AWS discussion – let me one more time reference the smart phone metaphor (see below) and simply say that the rapid adoption of the cloud will make many platforms successful and the leaders with the right balance of ecosystem, cost and innovation will win.

Modern vs. Legacy Smartphone Sales

So back to the Summit:

4,500 people. Doubling year-over-year.

The attendee profile? Almost all dev, very light on users…and, lots of partners.

Whereas the promise of each successive OpenStack Summit is that “this year is the year of the user”, CTERA did not observe that in 2014. We’ve heard the same from a number of industry pundits… That said, there’s now roughly over 1,200 developers committing code, almost every major IT company has an OpenStack strategy and the use cases are now just beginning to emerge. There’s so much momentum behind cloud today and so much demand for modernization of IT through the use of public and private cloud services, that the adoption of OpenStack and the continued adoption of existing services like AWS is an eventuality… the users aren’t all lining up yet, but the critical mass of support in the market has erased any doubt.

So – let’s get on to business. Clouds for the sake of clouds are… worthless. SaaS companies, enterprises, service providers – all of these organizations need to purpose their infrastructure for some use-case. Why is CTERA in the OpenStack community? Well, we provide a use-case for OpenStack-compatible storage that is utterly ubiquitous. Unlike traditional IT guys who are re-purposing their solutions for this disruptive and radically different style of IT infrastructure deployment, CTERA’s Cloud Storage Services Platform was designed from the ground up exclusively for cloud enablement of common storage use cases. Serve, Sync & Protect enterprise data via the cloud, only with CTERA.

Build & Scale CTERA Cloud with OpenStack

CTERA abstracts OpenStack-compatible storage and transforms cloud infrastructure into enterprise data services. The CTERA platform is being purposed as the front-end to some very large publicly known clouds – such as at Orange Business Services – and the pipeline of projects we’re being included in indicates that we’re just at the knee of the hockey stick.

CTERA Enterprise Cloud Storage Architecture for OpenStack Clouds

So-what’s the point here? The takeaways are:

  • $Bs invested. 1,000+ developers. We’ve hit a critical mass. No going back.
  • CTERA has public successes, as do others. The enterprise is validating OpenStack.
  • The discussion is less about the stack and more about cloud-enablement, where many vendors will lead in the cloud space both in the public and private space.
  • Keep an eye out for next year’s Summit, which is sure to be the year of the User ☺.

Oh in case you’re wondering…I own an iPhone.

Fun times!


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