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Where Have All the OpenStack Companies Gone?

Cisco intends to buy Piston.

IBM buys Blue Box Cloud.

This was just one day in the life of OpenStack.  Large companies have been on an OpenStack feeding frenzy, with Cisco buying Metacloud and EMC buying Cloudscaling before Piston and BlueBoxCloud were even on the menu.  While some may argue whether on not OpenStack is even something that belongs on the table for discussion, clearly some large, industry veteran type companies see the value…or do they?

Let’s go down a few of the OpenStack rabbit holes.

First, put on your tin foil hat, because we have a conspiracy theory here.  Information Technology as you have known it is seeking to destroy OpenStack!  By all of the acquisitions, these large companies will stifle innovation and OpenStack will wither up and die.  Highly unlikely.  While these OpenStack cloud companies were purchased by large organizations, OpenStack is alive in well within them.  Whether the acquired continues running as its own entity, or is brought into the fold is another story, but we have seen all these companies at the Last OpenStack Summit in Vancouver boasting about their products.  OpenStack isn’t going anywhere.

OpenStack is going to go corporate, and each company will have their on flavor of OpenStack that is not interoperable with any other…after all, everyone’s gotta make money on this thing somehow!  Sorry, but this theory is a goner too.  OpenStack wouldn’t be OpenStack if clouds couldn’t work together.  One of the hottest features in the Kilo release was the introduction of federated Keystone just for this purpose!  Imagine the potential OpenStack has.  I can run OpenStack on premises, and connect to a public cloud when I need to, perhaps for increased capacity.  Not just any public cloud though, the one that is the best fit for my organization, in that very moment.  The public cloud I burst into today may not necessarily be the one I burst into next week, and that is perfectly fine.  In addition, OpenStack also formed a number of interoperability standards, to ensure this never, ever happens.  Sure, companies may decide to add some special sauce to an OpenStack deployment, but compatibility is a given.  In fact, I’m sure we’re going to see these companies with a nice, shiny “OpenStack Powered Platform” badge on their websites before long.

OpenStack seems really interesting, and has a ton of potential.  Better catch ‘em all!  This seems to be one of the most likely scenarios.  No one can debate the huge community momentum behind OpenStack, or the vast number of organizations involved with it.  A company making an investment in OpenStack can be seen by many as an investment in the future (and by others as burning through cash).  Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball, so we don’t know what the outcome will be quite yet.  If nothing else, these acquisitions prove that OpenStack is something to take a look at, and further validate the cloud computing arena.

DSC_0442_vmiss(The view from the OpenStack Summit Vancouver…hope everyone picked up some now vintage goodies there!)

So what happens next?

Things are starting to get interesting, for sure.  If the OpenStack Summit was any indication, the companies who have bought their way into the game are full steam ahead, with the eye on the prize.  The innovators are still busy innovating, and the cloud is continuing to expand.  The water left behind by these acquisitions is calm, and a great place for the next generation of OpenStack based companies to set up their sails and begin their journeys.  What will that journey be?  Who knows.  Perhaps we’ll see an OpenStack startup that focuses on organizational change, perhaps we’ll see some new distributions.  I don’t think we’re done here by any stretch of the means.  These acquisitions don’t mean that OpenStack is dead, they mean completely the opposite.  OpenStack is thriving, and I think we’ll see new companies pop up in their predecessors wake, focusing on different problems which need to be solved on the journey to cloud adoption.  Happy sailing!

(Note: the opinions in this article are solely my own)