Is open source cloud computing too cloudy?

The Linux Foundation wrapped up its CloudOpen conference this weekend at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina in San Diego.

Billed as “the only” conference providing a collaboration and education space dedicated to advancing the open cloud, but what kind of taste did it leave in our mouths?

Can we say unequivocally that ALL open source cloud computing is ALL good news?

Some might argue that it is, but (and it’s a big but) with both OpenStack and CloudStack in existence, plus the rise of deviations and modifications upon both standards… and then corporate vendor-driven spin in between…

… things are getting just a little confusing.

IT analyst house IDC says that a massive 94 percent of Windows and Linux users want open collaboration and a “vibrant and open source ecosystem” for cloud computing.

IDC: “72 percent of businesses say that the use of open source software, open standards and/or open APIs are key factors when choosing a cloud provider or building their own cloud.”


The “problem” (if there is one) now though is that every cloud company appears to be calling itself an “open cloud company” as a matter of course. Cloudwashing has moved on, now we have OpenCloudWashing.

So are we in danger of an “open cloud me too” situation here?

That’s not the only danger, while we see nearly 200 companies now sign up to OpenStack, there is of course CloudStack as a secondary cloud open standard. Which way should we turn?

The best guide right now is to look at the number of installed live production environments in use. TechTarget’s own Gina Narcisi writes here in a piece entitled CloudStack vs. OpenStack: Competitors or allies?

Most of this work has really only been in place since the turn of the decade and that should be your best guide here i.e. most of the frameworks in place are still in formation.

We’re looking for the “Linux of the cloud”

Forbes quotes Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, in a piece that looks at the “battle to become the Linux of the cloud” as follows, “Software is built differently today than the last time we experienced a technology shift. What Zuckerberg proclaimed as the ‘Hacker Way’ is pervasive, in large part due to the early work of people like Torvalds. As for the cloud, a lot is still unclear. Standards and APIs are evolving. It is still unclear what the reference implementation will be. Which OSS projects will gain vs. lose.”