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September 7, 2015

No contest in cloud race with OpenStack fawning over AWS

OpenStack may want to eventually compete with AWS but at OpenStack Silicon Valley its competitors couldn't stop praising it.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Amazon Web Services doesn’t have anything to worry about because its competitors keep talking about how good it is.

Revisiting my notes from the OpenStack Silicon Valley event that I attended last week, there was a trend that I noticed appear from many of the speaker, they’re all in awe of AWS.

The AWS marketing team can take a break, because its competitors will do most of the talking for it.

The success of AWS in the public cloud space is clearly driving companies to emulate it, Randy Bias, VP, emerging technologies division, EMC highlighted this: "OpenStack was conceived as an AWS knock-off and still is."

In an interview with Jonathan Donaldson, GM, Software Defined Infrastructure, Cloud Platforms Group, Intel, he frequently identified AWS as the go to service for businesses: "AWS has done a great job with services, if you think about the services they’ve delivered a lot have been around the customer influx they’ve had which is a lot of the direct to consumer type things."

With representatives from both Google and Microsoft at the event it could be expected that they would both be frequently mentioned. From my perspective, Google were mentioned reasonably frequently, Microsoft less so.

Trying to emulate the success of AWS isn’t necessarily a bad thing and as a relatively new tech community, OpenStack has much to learn from the market leader.

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Adrian Otto, principal architect for Rackspace, identified one area it can learn from: "AMIs are a huge advantage of AWS, which is something OpenStack doesn’t have."

As is frequently stressed to me by companies in the public cloud space, they are not competing with AWS. The reality is though, that because AWS offers many services, there is overlap and in some verticals direct competition.

Mark Baker, Ubuntu Server Product Manager, Canonical, said: "If they’re not competing today, they will be tomorrow."

As OpenStack grows in popularity, the technology will come closer to competing with AWS, however, it has a long way to go before it reaches that stage and it will need to improve on a number of areas.

Alex Freedland, Chairman, Mirantis, identified the OpenStack path and where AWS fits in speaking, to CBR: "Holistically when you look at where the world is going, customers won’t care, customers will ultimately see infrastructure as an enabler.

"They want to see their workloads running on top of product or on top of service or CAPEX versus OPEX and then they have to move anywhere based on policy and performance characteristics.

"Clearly OpenStack’s long term vision is to be the customers’ platform that can deliver all that across heterogeneous clouds.

"If people put it on premise and they want to keep the workloads there, it kind of competes with Amazon, but also Amazon is showing what’s possible to the customer. It forces the IT departments to transform the ways they work to go into a cloud. Amazon shows what’s possible and drives the use cases."

Freedland identifies why AWS was in my opinion, one of the most talked about subjects of the event. As it leads, other companies follow, but its size means that workloads are lost to it and trying to operate in a vertical may not be enough.

Freedland, said: "Eventually we will have to understand how to have something that competes with Amazon on merit, but today – yes we will lose workloads. But without it nothing would have happened."

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