Alan Perkins, the CTO of Rackspace Asia Pacific, was named by The Australian as one of the Top 20 people to watch in technology 2012. Perkins shared his thoughts on the future of OpenStack, new generation cloud computing technologies and responded to a recent statement by a Gartner analyst that made light of OpenStack.
A Gartner analyst recently said that the OpenStack has a long way to go before it's truly an enterprise-grade platform. As a founder of OpenStack, how does Rackspace receive it?
Perkins: These are early days, but the shift from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Platform-as-a-Service is another sign of the maturity of the fundamentals and it will lead to an increase in adoption at the enterprise level. We anticipate a substantial increase in adoption of the OpenStack platform in the coming 6-12 months. We are at that point now where OpenStack is airborne. It has moved on from its initial stages of development to real delivery and enterprise adoption. An onward process of analysis and refinement will now strengthen the platform further. Projects that are easy to get off the ground typically have a limited life. Projects that are more all-encompassing (like the enterprise adoption of OpenStack) take more time to get off the ground, but once launched will be all pervasive and long lasting and that is what will determine its ultimate success.
Gartner also said that OpenStack companies make altruistic statements, but in reality, they are just trying to advance their product.
Perkins: With OpenStack, there is freedom from infrastructure, freedom from hypervisor, freedom from location, freedom from vendor, freedom from operating system. As for the questions around altruism and what the wider agenda might be here, it is clear that Infrastructure-as-a-service is increasingly being commoditized, but this is in humanity's best interests, and it is because of OpenStack this is happening. The alternative is to have lots of proprietary Cloud Operating Systems - and that's a bad place for the world to be.
The key now is to make money by being of service to the users of this technology. Companies that back the OpenStack platform typically have a natural interest in service-based computing. This of course reflects Rackspace's emphasis on the Fanatical Support provided by our team.Rackspace had announced that it was keen on increasing its use of technology based on the Open Compute Project (OCP), like Google or Facebook.
Have you completely moved out traditional hardware vendors?
Perkins: No, we are not completely out of it. We are still working on it, but are certainly not at a stage where we have abandoned the traditional architecture. But we are working with companies like Dell and HP to move them along to Compute project. You will probably see us continue to buy from the traditional server vendors. We typically use best-of-breed hardware.
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