UPDATED 18:02 EDT / APRIL 18 2013

OpenStack Summit Rallies the Troops, Drives Competition for AWS

Just a few years old, OpenStack has burst onto the scene as an open source alternative to Amazon’s AWS, providing the likes of IBM, VMware and other large enterprise players to rally against Amazon’s encroachment on the enterprise. This week’s OpenStack Summit, an annual event that started five years ago with a budget of $15,000, is now a $2 million budget event with over 3,000 attendees. SiliconANGLE has had live coverage of the OpenStack Summit for the first 3 days on its flagship station #theCube, and it’s clear that something that, just two years ago, our own John Furrier dubbed a “Hail Mary against Amazon’s AWS” is suddenly a viable player in the cloud.

“The ecosystem that [OpenStack is] developing is providing an alternative to the Amazon public cloud, and at the same time it’s offering an open environment. I think it’s going to enable – and it is enabling – very high degrees of customization, which is very important to tap into that trillion dollar tam that I talked about in the enterprise,” Vellante explains during his appearance on this morning’s Live NewsDesk Show with Kristin Feledy.  “So I think OpenStack, again, is evolving and maturing. There are still some warts. But very clearly they are getting some great traction as we saw at the OpenStack Summit – particularly within the developer community, but not confined only to the developer community as you and I have talked about before, but we’re seeing some real customer traction too.”

The developer community is one demographic that Amazon’s appealed to with its early AWS offerings, but now it wants in on the enterprise, too.  This is where traditional vendors like IBM and HP have the stronghold, and they’re anxious to thwart Amazon’s efforts before AWS eats up all the market share.  OpenStack is the rallying tie for AWS rivals, and it’s reached a point of maturity where the enterprise can take it seriously and truly apply it to their own solutions portfolios.

“I think that community is connected on the Hail Mary,” Vellante continues, going on to highlight some of the vendors that showed their support for OpenStack at this week’s event. “They went in for a touchdown, and the way I would summarize it to continue with that sports analogy… is they’re now going for the two extra points to tie the game up and send it into overtime.

“The impressive piece about the OpenStack Summit is we saw real companies – like Comcast and Best Buy and HubSpot – actually put forth really substantive case studies. I think there’s no question that OpenStack is in the game. I think it’s here to stay, and I think it’s got a really good chance of participating in earnest in the cloud space.”

So do the big players have a chance at toppling Amazon before it gains full reign of the enterprise?  The OpenStack Summit makes a convincing case, but Amazon is also a “fast-moving gorilla,” as Vellante puts it, and AWS is a highly disruptive platform.  Amazon’s current appeal to the enterprise is its quick deployment and low pricing, but scaling is up could drive prices up, and many companies limit their AWS usage to testing environments.  This is one thing Amazon will need to address as it sweetens its portfolio for the enterprise space.

photo credit: Walt Jabsco via photopin cc

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