What Is An Open Cloud And What Isn’t?

Over the past few days I’ve been in San Francisco for VMware’s annual show and in San Diego to spend some time with the technologists at CloudOpen – the Linux Foundation’s first cloud only event.

The two shows demonstrate how the cloud world is maturing. And as it matures, the stakes will get higher. This is quite evident when you consider how much VMware is trying to move beyond its traditional story about virtualization. Not only has the company has asked to join OpenStack, it is talking about IT support for Amazon Web Services. VMware is definitely singing a different tune than we have heard before.

Here in San Diego – the story is about the technology and the next stage of the Linux movement. The talk here is all about the Linux kernel, APIs and the competing initiatives from OpenStack, Cloudstack and Eucalyptus Systems.

To sum it up: if VMworld is about the data center then CloudOpen is about the software.

Through all of this is a continuing discussion about what is an open cloud and what is not. Over the past few days, I’ve tried to crystallize the conversation to some extent. Here is my take:

  • An open cloud has open APIs.
  • An open cloud has a developer community that collaborates on developing the cloud infrastructure or platform environment.
  • An open cloud has people who have deep experience in running open source projects.
  • An open cloud gives users the rights to move data as wished.
  • An open cloud is federated — you can run your apps and data across multiple cloud environments.
  • An open cloud does not require an IT administrator to provision and manage.
  • An open cloud does not require new hardware.
  • An open cloud is not a rat’s nest of licenses.
  • An open cloud is not a proprietary, new age mainframe.
  • An open cloud is not washed with marketing.
  • An open cloud can be forked.
  • An open cloud has full view into the infrastructure environment.
  • An open cloud is not hosted, legacy software

There are some points that I have probably not included that should be here. Please add your own in the comments.