UPDATED 18:01 EDT / FEBRUARY 01 2014

SolidFire: OpenStack is rich with opportunity | #OEForum

Earlier this week at the OpenStack Enterprise Forum, Dave Wright, CEO and founder of SolidFire, shared his vision for the open source cloud platform for the very near future. In the keynote panel discussion that was moderated by Gartner’s Lydia Leong, Wright detailed SolidFire’s commitment to improving both private and public cloud storage solutions.

“We are heavily involved in the Cinder storage area.” SolidFire views this specifically as an opportunity to become a universal enterprise cloud provider. “We want to be able to remove the barriers to vendor lock-in that existed previously. We want to see OpenStack and other open cloud operations be successful.”

Cinder, as an Object Storage platform is, according to Wright, “…the wave of the future.” He cites the storage world’s moving to a capacity-optimized platform as proof of this conjecture. “Other Object Storage projects are merging with OpenStack.” However, the area of performance optimized storage on OpenSource has yet to reach maturity. “When you get to high scale, you fall into the area of lock-in vendors.”

Addressing these and other concerns about adoption and employment of open source solutions in the enterprise, Wright adamantly stated that those organizations open to possible adoption should first submit to an up-front assessment of their specific use case in order to build the correct infrastructure. “There are a lot of important decisions that need to be made,” he stated. “If you go blind, you could turn the organization off to the idea if it is unsuccessful. Proof of Concept is necessary for understanding what storage and platforms you want to deploy on.”

Early adoption of the OpenStack platform was done almost entirely by service providers. Those institutions, according to Wright, were able to self-direct how they implemented OpenStack with their customers. “They can go out and make evaluations on the infrastructure side,” Wright noted. “However, there is a drift toward working with building from scratch for organizations.”

Regarding this recent shift toward a more curated deployment, Leong asked, “Who do you find your typical OpenStack customer to be?” Wright claimed, as of late, the typical SolidFire customer has migrated from the service provider side to enterprise customers. “We will see the same thing with OpenStack as we once saw with Linux.”

Questions on OpenStack for the enterprise


The panel discussion fielded questions from attendees, many of whom represented enterprise interests yet to adopt OpenStack for their own organizations. The first question dealt with specific innovations driving OpenStack development, not only for adoption but also for future development.

SolidFire, according to Wright, has been contributing on the storage side over the previous two and a half years. “We felt we had to achieve parity with Amazon. Now, the question isn’t about Amazon,” he stated. “What do the users need to run a broad, complex application on OpenStack? How do you back-up on OpenStack Cloud,” he posited. “We are looking to expand the use cases for OpenStack. That is where the innovation is going on the storage side.”

The future of OpenStack in the enterprise will ultimately require innovation and effort to turn it into a product. Ultimately, the Enterprise will need to know that if they choose to adopt OpenStack, they can expect to utilize it over a 15 year life cycle. Currently, early adopters of the OpenSource platform are working to build items that help manage and realize that life cycle.

The OpenStack community, as it currently stands with nearly 10,000 members, is focused on continual innovation. The Enterprise should be emboldened to explore OpenStack for their organizations thanks to this fact. “There is far more opportunity in the OpenStack ecosystem than there are currently companies to help realize that. There are great opportunities for start-ups. It’s not overcrowded,” Wright concluded.

photo credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester} via photopin cc

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