Saving the best for last, theCUBE hosts John Furrier and Dave Vellante wrapped up the recently concluded OpenStack Enterprise Forum with an in-depth discussion on the private cloud featuring Chris Kemp, an open source visionary who led the development of OpenStack as the CTO of NASA. He went on to found Nebula, a startup that develops appliances for managing scale-out environments.
Hyperscale is growing beyond market boundaries as data volumes continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, impacting every segment from financial services to the entertainment industry, according to Kemp. The technologies pioneered by web-scale giants such as Facebook and Microsoft to keep up with this information explosion are now being democratized through the Open Compute Project and OpenStack, with vendors like Nebula packaging the individual components into production-ready solutions.
Furrier likens the hyperscale community to the Homebrew Computer Club, noting that just as the iconic hobbyist group’s efforts helped revolutionize personal computing, the new paradigm is working to transform the data center. Kemp agrees, adding that the PC had an equally significant impact on the enterprise.
“You had companies like Apple and Microsoft build these very small systems which ended up being incredibly successful and that transformed enterprise computing, so if I’m building a large enterprise-scale computer I’m gonna start using the components that exist in the PC,” he explains.
“That’s happening all over again: we have mobile phones and ARM processors and DRAM chips and flash chips that are spilling over from these consumer devices into enterprise platforms. And it allows us to rethink the way we do software: let’s not just run software on one big computer, let’s run it on thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers,” Kemp remarks. He believes that the enterprise is only now taking the first steps in a decades-long journey to the cloud, which NASA sought to accelerate by sharing its treasure trove of technical know-how with the outside world.
The space agency didn’t have the resources to pull off the initiative on its own, Kemp reflects, so it joined forces with Google and Microsoft to develop a prototype of what would become OpenStack. In a few short years, the platform evolved from a side-project to the de facto standard for open computing, complete with an ecosystem and a set of common APIs that he says set it apart from AWS.
“There’s a different set of opportunities that exist when you bring a cloud into the enterprise, and I don’t think Amazon will see those things. And so I think having the OpenStack APIs be discrete and innovate on an independent trajectory will create more innovation for private clouds and for competition,” he comments.
Kemp considers Amazon’s plans to replicate its success in the enterprise overly ambitious, explaining that large organizations have legacy applications not designed to take advantage of the elasticity which makes the cloud more cost-effective than on-premise environments. VMware is taking a smarter approach to addressing this challenge, he notes, decoupling virtual machines from the underlying hardware to allow for “software mainframes” capable of running antiquated workloads on modern infrastructure.
Looking ahead, Kemp sees CIOs in all segments embracing hyperscale to drive higher returns on their existing software investments and move forward with greenfield projects. Simplicity is key to adoption, he concludes, and a top priority for OpenStack. He expects more will be done to streamline application deployment as software vendors re-architect their solutions for the cloud. Nebula intends to play a central role in this shift.
Click on the video below to see the full interview.