Last week at CloudOpen 2012, SUSE (previous CloudAve coverage) announced the availability of SUSE Cloud, a commercially supported private cloud solution based on OpenStack. SUSE Cloud is a cloud management platform built with OpenStack and integrates with existing SUSE products like SUSE Studio and SUSE Manager. This will essentially allow their enterprise customers to deploy applications and workloads across different private and public clouds. On the surface, it appears like yet another company without a solid cloud offering jumping into OpenStack bandwagon with a hope of retaining their existing customers from moving to other vendors. I am not going to dispute that. It may or may not be a valid picture. However, I am looking at it from another angle and I feel good about SUSE investing their “future” on OpenStack.
Let me list out reasons why SUSE’s participation in the OpenStack community is good for the ecosystem:
- Without going into SUSE’s market position or some of their controversial actions with Linux, SUSE’s bet on OpenStack is good for the community. Without poking too much into their “market health”, let me argue that they are a serious player in the enterprise infrastructure market. They have established their “credibility” in the open source world. Another vendor with open source credentials who is desperate to win in the enterprise market is good for OpenStack ecosystem. They will fight hard for their success and, in the process, counterbalance the other egos out there in the OpenStack ecosystem. I always view corporate participation in any community project with skepticism and I am doubly careful when they participate in an open source project. However, OpenStack’s Apache license helps protect the project against corporate interests. It is bad for an open source community if it is controlled by one or handful of corporate interests. However, when the number increases big time with too many corporate interests participating in the project, it becomes a showcase (or testing ground if you are a skeptic) for capitalism in action. If there are many corporate players fighting hard for their self interest in an open source project implies that there is a better chance of the project surviving to empower the end users. I am a sucker of competition in the marketplace and I feel that when there are more corporate players betting their future on an open source project, it helps the ecosystem than adversely impacting it. Coming from this angle, SUSE’s entry into the OpenStack ecosystem is good for the community
- After Citrix philosophically divorced from OpenStack, I was a bit worried about Xen contribution to the project. I am a sucker of KVM but for a cloud infrastructure platform to be successful, it needs to support multiple hypervisors. SUSE could fill the void left by Citrix and ensure that Xen support in OpenStack continues to be solid
- I am one of the guys who was pissed with some of SUSE’s actions vis a vis Microsoft during the operating system wars of the past. However, I am turning around now (getting old huh!!) to celebrate their relationship with Microsoft in the cloud computing world. I see Microsoft as a key player in both the public and private cloud market (keep in mind that I am a sucker of competition in the market). I feel that any credible cloud platform should support Hyper-V. Cloud.com was the bridge between Microsoft and OpenStack before the acquisition and eventual divorce. SUSE can now step into that role and can do even better than what Cloud.com did. They could bring native support for Hyper-V on OpenStack
- Coming from SUSE’s angle, OpenStack not only helps them to compete with the proprietary players in the space, it also offers them a credible cloud platform to compete with the likes of Red Hat and Canonical. I don’t want to speculate on the future of SUSE but I can definitely say that OpenStack gives them the rope they need right now in the market.