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OpenStack head unworried by Dell, IBM, reversals

No public cloud from Dell? IBM loves CloudStack? No worries, says Alan Clark

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Imagine for a moment that you head a large enterprise software effort and two major partners stiff you in quick succession.

First, one of those partners decides shut down a public cloud built on your software.

The second, despite public profession of mutual adoration and respect, buys a rival.

Now the reveal: the enterprise software in question is OpenStack, the first partner is Dell (which just canned its public cloud) and the second is IBM, which earlier this week hoovered up SoftLayer's CloudStack.

And the head of the enterprise software outfit? That'd be Alan Clark, chair of the OpenStack Foundation, who popped up in Sydney today to talk up the wares of his employer SUSE.

On Dell, Clark said the decision to step away from public cloud has everything to do with competition in that market and not any issues with OpenStack. The pair continue to work on private clouds together.

Clark was unaware of IBM's decision, an artefact of his Pacific-spanning efforts in the last 24 hours. He was again unflappable, saying his dealings with big blue lead him to believe its OpenStack efforts have only just begun. Deploying the slow-to-start-hard-to-stop oil tanker analogy, he said IBM has placed mighty engines at the stern of its OpenStack efforts and their power will generate impressive momentum.

Another source of momentum for OpenStack is China, which Clark said now accounts for the second-largest number of contributions to the stack if measured by nation-of-origin. To make it easier for those contributors to help out, the Foundation has chosen Hong Kong as the venue for its next Summit.

The specs of OpenStack's next iteration will be determined at that event, and Clark said he hopes “we have more companies and contributors” work on storage features for the software.

Clark also revealed that OpenStack's users predominantly report putting the stack to work in private clouds. A survey of the Foundation's user groups, while far from a census of all OpenStack usage, found 35 hosted private clouds, 15 hybrid clouds, 37 public clouds and 105 on-premises private clouds. Clark said he is “surprised” by the pace of adoption in the latter role, but that he doesn't feel that means OpenStack is a nascent VMware-or-Hyper-V-killer. Amazon Web Services, by contrast, was singled out as the vendor he felt is playing hard with its APIs and therefore perhaps playing to OpenStack's strong suit as users seek openness. ®

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