The good news is that OpenStack is doing really well on private clouds and telecoms. On the public cloud, however, it’s a different story.
First, the good stuff. According to a Forrester Research report titled, OpenStack’s Global Traction Expands For Its Newton Release, OpenStack has “grown into a de facto standard platform for the private cloud market and now serves as the foundation for public clouds, particularly in Europe and China.”
Telcos, in particular, love OpenStack. It wasn’t always that way. Neutron, OpenStack’s networking service, has had undergone several major revisions. Over the past two years, OpenStack developers have doubled down on Neutron’s investments. This, in turn, has injected new life into its viability and usage.
In particular, CableLabs, SK Telecom, and Verizon have flocked to the OpenStack community. Their reasons vary. For some, OpenStack and Neutron are enabling them transform the network with network function virtualization (NFV). For others, OpenStack enables them to reposition themselves as cloud infrastructure providers.
I think the former will be the real driver for telecommunication businesses. These companies, and network powers, are working together on projects such as Doctor. This is a self-healing NFV fault management and maintenance program. It’s already been shown to be able to keep phone calls going in real time despite loss of network connectivity. When your business depends on keeping calls going no matter what, this is a big deal.
Forrester also sees OpenStack doing well in the public cloud market outside the U.S.: “The US public cloud market has largely settled [with Amazon Web Services (AWS) the winner,] but every other market is still in flux. European and Asia Pacific cloud players will continue to gravitate to OpenStack because of its focus on multi-tenancy and developers.”
That may well be true outside the U.S., but it’s more than AWS becoming dominant. U.S. companies that tried to make OpenStack-based public cloud moves have thrown in the towel.
First, HPE gave up on its OpenStack-powered HP Helion public cloud. Then, HPE divested itself of its OpenStack programming team and sent its packing to SUSE. HPE still has a major role to play in the cloud. But it will be as a hardware provider and as a partner to customers investing in its hybrid infrastructure cloud plans.
Rackspace, co-inventor of OpenStack with NASA, hasn’t given up on the OpenStack public cloud. At the same time, though, its focus is now on supporting customers running AWS and Azure and possibly Google Cloud Platform in the future. Rackspace CEO Taylor Rhodes recently said in a Network World interview, “The pivot for us fundamentally is realizing that being an OEM in a hyperscale business like public cloud infrastructure is just not a place that Rackspace ought to invest and compete.”
Then, Cisco pulled the plug on its OpenStack-based Intercloud. According to Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller “Cisco was the last large vendor left banking on OpenStack for public cloud.”
So, while OpenStack is disappearing from the U.S. public cloud market, it still has a shot outside North America. Regardless of how that works out, OpenStack will still have a major role to play in private cloud and in the telco vertical market in particular.