Canonical has a new stack -- a managed version of OpenStack, that is, with plans for on-premise and remotely hosted incarnations. The company calls it BootStack, though according to V3.co.uk, it was originally named Your Cloud in a preliminary announcement at the OpenStack Summit held in Atlanta back in May of this year.
A datasheet released by Canonical says BootStack has three key elements: Build, Operate, and Transfer. Build is an OpenStack infrastructure created to the customer's spec by Canonical, using both its own tools and its own edition of OpenStack. Operate has the resulting stack tended to by Canonical's team (complete with SLA), and with Transfer, customers can take control of their BootStack clouds and have Canonical's team train people as needed.
Of two basic incarnations, the hosted version is more striking, in part because of Canonical's big-name ally. The hosting partner at launch time is IBM's Softlayer -- the same company offering abare-metal version of hosted OpenStack-as-a-service by way of another major OpenStack player, Mirantis.
One area where Mirantis's and Canonical's offerings diverge is pricing. Mirantis's OpenStack Express starts at $59.95 per day (starting with two bare-metal servers ), an all-inclusive price. Canonical prices BootStack at $15 per server per day with a three-month initial commitment, but that price excludes the cost of hardware and hosting -- likely to raise eyebrows among those who adopted OpenStack as a money-saving measure. (Rackspace, too, has its own bare-metal OpenStack product.)
That said, the size of the prospective market for OpenStack -- and the ways it's adopted -- make it tougher to see where the big business lies in offering OpenStack as a service. High-profile customers touted in OpenStack success stories, like telecom providers, make up barely 2 percent of the total market for OpenStack; most OpenStack deployments are modest affairs aimed mainly at saving money normally spent on VMware or similar commercial products.
Canonical claims a number of benefits for the BootStack methodology, most of them meant to ease the pain points that have surfaced time and again with OpenStack -- the problems involved with setup, for instance, or the way OpenStack's openness and complexity are interrelated. Solve those problems, so goes the reasoning, and OpenStack ought to experience the kind of explosive surge in interest that so far has not happened.
BootStack is still in a private beta, so it'll be a while before we can see any vindication of Canonical's hands-on approach.
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