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2011: The year open source (really) goes capitalist

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The future of cloud…gets cloudier?

One area that Microsoft will do well in 2011, but against a backdrop of serious competition, is the cloud. Azure doesn't get the press, but with so many "Microsoft shops" out there, Microsoft will do well.

But so will will the open-source crowd. In 2011 many more CIOs will jump into private clouds…and will quickly discover that they're going about it all wrong, as Forrester's James Staten speculates. But this is a good thing, he reasons, because " through this failure [CIOs] will learn what it really takes to operate a cloud environment." This, in turn, should lead them toward public cloud providers like Amazon or hosted private cloud providers. Either way, open source wins, because both sets of clouds are largely open source-driven.

Indeed, the shift to hybrid clouds (i.e., hosted private) should benefit Rackspace's OpenStack project, which I expect to get serious adoption in 2011. But I also see Red Hat continuing to grow from strength to strength due to its beachhead in virtualization. As Red Hat grows, we're going to see its competition with VMware intensify, with the two companies snapping up complementary cloud and virtualization technologies - much of it open source - to compete.

Conclusion

Think of 2010 as the set-up play for a bruising 2011, when furious jockeying will take place to position companies to rule the cloud. More than ever before, open source will be the common element fueling this competition. Now that we finally understand key open source values - building community and low-cost complements to hosted service offerings - we're ready for a new age of open-source capitalism.

It all starts in 2011. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Strobe, a startup that offers an open source framework for building mobile apps. He was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfreso's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open-source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears every Friday on The Register.

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