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Welcome: Why build an open cloud?


This is Linux.com's new forum for community members to discuss cloud computing and the open cloud. Just like the LF's upcoming CloudOpen conference in August, the forum is intended to help highlight the people, projects and ideas behind the open source cloud and advance the conversation around creating open standards for cloud computing.

I'd like to know why it's important for businesses to fight for an open cloud. The threat of vendor lock-in is a widely cited reason and received a bit of attention recently at GigaOM’s Structure Conference after presenters discussed whether Amazon Web Services should be considered competition or the new de facto standard.

Amazon certainly provides motivation for competitors but it can't be the only threat, here. Why support an open cloud?


  • luket
    luket Posts: 1
    An open cloud definitely prevents vendor lock in. It encourages innovation and makes vendors more valuable if they provide superior service or are more agile in handling a customers requirements.

    The costs of cloud services can sky rocket. With a cost of roughly 4/5 months of that cloud service equaling what you could have paid for the same amount of hardware the ROI is there. If you bought your own hardware and setup your own cloud inside, you then pay half the yearly cost for the same service.

    Open source communities are excellent, typically having great documentation or sources to learn how to achieve your goals. This makes it reasonable to voice opinions that lead to a faster advancement in the overall project.
  • BrianMCollins
    One of the things I hear in my work world, is "we are never going 100% public cloud". I hear this time and time again from established Fortune 1000 companies and government/public agencies. That said, some of them have mandates to start using service providers for a certain percentage of their budgets. OK then so these folks are either looking at something relatively mundane such as some SaaS to satisfy their CIOs, or are trying to figure out some way to make hybrid clouds work for them.

    I see an open cloud, or at minimum the standardization of APIs as being critical to cloud adoption in these organizations. If they cannot freely move workloads into and out of their walls, or shard applications to straddle the firewall, they will never realize the benefits of service-based computing.

    If a shop is 100% Windows, they can already move workloads in and out of Azure painlessly. Service providers working with other, open, and heterogeneous platforms need to think about that.

    I agree with luket, but I also think there is something more fundamental in the cloud space that openness and particularly open standards can bring. Consider the model of the power companies. Yes, you need to take little dongles around with you when you travel, but basically you plug in, use what you brought, and get charged for what you consume.

    We need to get to that level of simplicity. else, we will be back to the days if IP, IPX, AppleTalk, ArcNet, yada-yada.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    My company is seriously looking at Amazon's cloud for additional resources for our cell phone proxy browsers (though who knows what impact the recent power failures due to the storms on the US east coast will have on this effort will be). My opinion (as principal/senior performance engineer for the company) is that we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket... :-)
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    I have been following cloud computing extensively just recently based on increasing trends of cloud computing re-defining IT. Cloud has some amazing benefits which I will definitely support. One of those benefits is that it is built using open source technology. Which means it is open and anyone can contribute to it. Want innovation or improvement, being open is the de facto standard.

    Yet everything must start from somewhere. Amazon set a path for other cloud service providers to follow. However don't consider them dominate. Amazon did something right and there is no harm in "learning" from them. Open cloud is here to stay. Innovation requires thinking outside the box not within restrictions.
  • prashantkadre
    Openness in software and architectures is a big win for users. This truth is so widely recognized that a lot of vendors seem to favor using "open" as a sort of mantra even though they're often not, well, open except in glancing and incidental ways. This is nowhere truer than with cloud computing
  • saqman2060
    Another benefit to using "open" cloud standards is to keep service vendors competitive. The goal is to deliver optimal results to consumers. Vendors will need the ability to adapt to users needs and using opensource is becoming the primary way of doing that because it is not a "what you see is what you get" philosophy.


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