I read an article over on GigaOm about Rackspace announcing a private/hybrid cloud based on their OpenStack offering. This got me to thinking and asking the question, “Is Rackspace
cloud really open?” Yes, it’s built on OpenStack but what does that mean today for enterprise customers looking for an open solution. One of the main arguments with going with an open solution is to avoid vendor lock in. This is the promise of OpenStack. If my relationship with my Cloud provider no longer meets my needs I can take my workloads and go somewhere else. It also means that I can supplement one cloud provider with another or even my own.
There are questions as to if OpenStack will have this type of portability. So, far both Rackspace and HP have launched public Clouds based on OpenStack. Ideally, I would be able to have my own OpenStack control panel and have workloads running on either cloud. I don’t keep daily update with the progress of the OpenStack project but, I believe there still isn’t a fully baked control panel yet so both Rackspace and HP have had to create their own. Will they converge at some point?
According to the above GigaOm article Rackspace has introduced a hybrid cloud option based on their current offering. I believe this is still a private cloud hosted in a Rackspace datacenter that allows you to extend out to their public cloud. If you have or want an all Rackspace solution this is a great product. However, how is this any different than being locked in to any other existing cloud provider if there isn’t interoperability between OpenStack providers and a control panel hosted by the customer?
Do any of the existing Openstack Clouds meet your functional open cloud requirements?
Update 4:45 PM EST 8/15/2012
So, thanks to the comments below, I have a clearer perspective of what OpenStack is and isn’t. I always expected OpenStack to be a complete solution from Orchestration to Cloud Infrastructure. I originally envisioned OpenStack as modules that included a Cloud Manager. As a virtual data center manager, I could choose to install all of the OpenStack platform and build my own private cloud or just the Cloud Management component. This would be a standard interface that anyone with OpenStack cloud management experience could use from organization to organization or from provider to provider.
But this isn’t what OpenStack provides. OpenStack provides a common set of API’s for cloud providers (private or public) on which I could role my own Cloud Management or use a solution like Rightscale. So, as a virtual data center provider, I still have the challenge of selecting both a management and cloud platform. OpenStack may make more provider’s available to me given my selected management platform but it doesn’t solve my management platform problem by itself.