Elastic, Flexible & Efficient Open Clouds

As I alluded last week, today’s public launch of the OpenStack Foundation is further affirmation that we have entered the Golden Age of Cloud Platforms.  As with any young industry, we are witnessing thriving innovation, entrepreneurship and competition in action as the leading players via for customer attention and of course dollars (or Euros, RMB’s, INR’s, RUB’s, R$, etc…)


I first observed a similar groundswell of energy and enthusiasm as we entered the now mature PC Era over 20 years ago.  At the time, various commercial entities were vying for our attention and money by democratizing computing, broadening access of previously exclusive processing power to a wider range of companies and individuals.  My own experiential analysis of that movement concludes there is one key audience who the winners of the PC Era identified and won over.


Sleepless in Seattle

Often a source of mockery, I find genius in this Steve Ballmer meme because it epitomizes the lynchpin of Microsoft’s successful strategy for dominance of the PC Era.  It’s all about developers!  As a result, Microsoft became the de-facto standard for PC Era apps.


History is repeating in more ways than one as Microsoft’s neighbor in Seattle follows that playbook for commercial dominance of the commercial Cloud Computing market.  Like Microsoft, Amazon developed a compelling, feature-rich and well-supported platform for developers. (note the prominent placement of the drop-down in the top right of their home page)  As a result, AWS is now the de-facto standard for Cloud Apps.


Viva La Revolución

As with the PC Era and Microsoft, various business, economic, cultural & technical requirements created opportunity for alternatives to the de-facto Microsoft standard for PC Apps – and so the legendary open-source (symbolized by Linux) movement was born.  By now most readers can see where I’m going with this.  Last week’s Apache Software Foundation (CloudStack) announcement combined with this week’s OpenStack Foundation announcement usher in the Golden Era of Cloud Platforms with viable open alternatives to Amazon’s de-facto Cloud standard.


The New Diplomacy

The graphic I showed on last week’s blog illustrated how NetApp has established deep technical integration with leading Cloud Platforms from Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Rackspace/OpenStack and Redhat, among others. Simplifying sophisticated storage and data management functionality such as thin provisioning, replication, versioning and deduplication / compression in a simple Cloud wrapper (learn more about the capabilities of our Essex Storage Catalog) has earned NetApp broad developer-led support among leading Cloud Service Providers which have also become strong business partners for us.


Aside from the technical accomplishments embodied by NetApp’s Cloud Partner program, what’s even more interesting to me is how NetApp has successfully navigated the diverse business models in both the PC (Client / Server) and now Cloud Eras.  We have established mutually beneficial joint value propositions for customers with both commercial as well as open-source interests across both Eras.


The Payoff

That strategic direction and resulting NetApp investments not only makes us a safe haven for Private, Hybrid and Public cloud infrastructures, but also frees Cloud developers up to focus, develop and debug only the rich functionality and workflow that matters most to their users. Freeing up Cloud developers from the burden, overhead and risk of having to manage the realities of keeping thousands (or millions) of disks spinning, keeping NAND Flash storage media from wearing out prematurely, or integrating it all with the obscure vagrancies of firmware and driver versions present throughout a complete IT stack is often the difference between a NetApp-powered OpenStack success such as MercadoLibre and the infamous failure of a


Your Next Step

We’re proud to not only be a founding member of the new OpenStack Foundation, but also participate in next week’s OpenStack Design Summit & Conference.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with other OpenStack founders, practitioners and users at the Summit.  In particular look for our OpenStack tech guru’s (Rob Esker) appearance in key storage panel discussions as well as the NetApp booth on the exhibit floor.


You can join our Cloud Community to discuss details of NetApp’s Nova driver for the new Essex release of OpenStack, as well as the underlying rich Storage Server Catalog functionality for the delivery of sustainable Cloud Services.


Details for online services based on NetApp’s market-leading Cloud Service Provider Partner Program are also available here (PDF).


Please let me know via your comments what you think about Open Clouds and what more NetApp can do to help you deliver, consume or sell sustainable cloud services!