Why the “Open” in Open Cloud Matters

No one likes vendor lock-in. It’s one of the key reasons the open source movement took off so quickly and why more than 80% of applications developed by enterprises today use open source technologies[i].

OpenStack® technology takes open source to the cloud, providing a set of tools for building and managing cloud computing platforms. Anyone who chooses to can access the source code, make any changes or modifications they need and freely share these changes back out to the community at large. That means customers won't have to fear vendor lock-in and technology companies can participate in a growing market that spans cloud providers.

Backed by some of the biggest technology companies, as well as thousands of individual community members, many believe – HP included – that OpenStack technology is the future of the cloud.

The OpenStack Project is managed by the OpenStack Foundation. Comprised of more than 350 companies – HP and Red Hat included – the Foundation’s goal is to serve developers, users and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources. Resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry.

So, it’s curious to see that Red Hat is refusing to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) customers who also run-non Red Hat versions of OpenStack technologies. That business practice contradicts the spirit of the open source community. As I told The Wall Street Journal, Red Hat has taken the art form of closed open source to a new level (subscription required).

Red Hat subsequently has indicated that “users are free to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux with any OpenStack offering, and there is no requirement to use our OpenStack technologies to get a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription.” It’s not clear whether Red Hat is drawing an artful distinction between deployment, subscription and support, or if Red Hat will actually provide support for RHEL to customers who don’t use Red Hat OpenStack technologies with RHEL. Therefore, I would encourage Red Hat to confirm whether it will support RHEL if a customer is running a non-Red Hat version of an OpenStack offering on that copy of RHEL.

In launching the HP Helion portfolio of cloud products and services, we are building on the commitment we have had in place over the past three years to deliver products and services that enable enterprises to build, consume and manage open, hybrid solutions. The recently announced HP Helion OpenStack Community edition product delivered and tested by HP, is pure OpenStack technology, with no proprietary technology or add-ins.

HP Helion OpenStack is truly open: it is based on open standards and built on open source to deliver rapid innovation. Openness enables our customers the ability to move, integrate and deliver applications across IT environments. It means you can build your cloud, your way, without fear of proprietary systems or lock-in.

HP sells and supports a lot of Red Hat’s RHEL – in that sense we work very closely with Red Hat – but in the case of cloud, we each have our own OpenStack distributions. We have no objections to supporting our OpenStack distribution with RHEL if Red Hat agrees and if customers want it. We have tested our OpenStack distribution with Ubuntu and the HP Debian-based Linux operating system, and we have plans to also test with RHEL and openSUSE.

The OpenStack Project is relatively young – it’s one of the fastest growing open source projects out there – and the pace of innovation and adoption isn’t something HP wants to see stifled. At the end of the day, customers will gravitate toward the vendor’s OpenStack distribution that helps them build their cloud their way, gives them the flexibility they need and helps them avoid vendor lock-in.



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