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OpenStack, AWS are today’s cloud ‘safe bets’

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27 October 2016

Forrester Research’s newly issued report, “The State of Cloud Platform Standard, Q4 2016,” regards OpenStack and AWS as the de facto standards for compute and storage in the cloud.

That by itself is not news. OpenStack has been regarded as a standard by Forrester since 2014, and AWS has been the top measure since it was considered clever to pair up talk about cloud computing with clipart of the sky.

But Forrester is watching how standards-setting bodies are using the existing base of open source projects as a starting point for real standards. The analyst firm also notes that OpenStack and AWS are far from the last words on their respective subjects.

The players and the game
The key words are “bodies” and “standards,” both plural. Cloud computing is large and contains multitudes, so Forrester’s report describes a panoply of standards groups as broken down into six categories:

  • Definitions: This includes groups like the NIST and ISO that provide both formal descriptions of terms like “cloud” and standards for usage, like how to handle personally identifiable information.
  • Security certifications bodies: The Cloud Security Alliance is in this number.
  • Standards development organisations or SDOs: This includes the ISO, as well as OASIS and DMTF.
  • Rapidly iterating projects: These come from various SDOs, such as the TOSCA initiative to enable greater portability of cloud workloads and IT services in clouds.
  • Customer councils: These are groups that represent cloud customers to hear out their problems and connect them with the right industry groups to find solutions.
  • Network/telecom-focused groups: Cloud in general, and OpenStack in particular, has a strong investment from groups like the ITU.

The upshot of this slicing-and-dicing: Do not expect any one authority to tell you what is the cloud or how to use it best. Moreover, do not expect that to change. Consolidation of cloud standards does not mean there will be a concomitant consolidation of cloud standardisation bodies. The standards — a galaxy of them — will be, by necessity, spread out across a great many different groups.

The ‘Stack is still king
If the open-source-powered cloud has a single standard bearer, says Forrester, it remains OpenStack. There may be other open source IaaS projects — OpenNebula, Eucalyptus, and CloudStack — but OpenStack is the only one that has any real momentum or clout. That has remained true even as OpenStack took years to overcome its reputation for being complex and difficult to deploy.

Forrester admits this, as one of the report’s key takeaways about OpenStack is that using it means “heavy development investment.” Wal-Mart may be deploying its own version of OpenStack, but it’s the exception, not the rule. Most companies, even larger ones, are best off sticking with a packaged solution.

From what Forrester uncovered, most do; 26% use a “series of private cloud solutions,” and 23% use “commercial private cloud software,” but only 12% use a pure open source solution. Meanwhile, 13% stated they were “purchasing a converged hardware/software solution,” which does not bode well for Microsoft’s plans to offer a vendor-certified on-ramp to a hybrid Azure experience.



IDG News Service

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