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OpenStack 'will be derailed' if it mimics AWS, bellows Scoble

Rackspace mouthpiece demands OpenStack become 'innovation competitor'

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Internet foghorn Robert Scoble has come out booming against claims that open source cloud project OpenStack should implement features found in major cloud provider Amazon Web Services.

On Tuesday, the Rackspace mouthpiece called for OpenStack to devote its not inconsiderable engineering resources into developing cloud technologies for "wearable computing, sensors, and new business demands to personalize service and build new collaborative enterprises," rather than attaining technological parity with cloud leader Amazon Web Services.

Scoble's post on Google+ came about in response to Randy Bias of CloudScaling arguing last week that OpenStack faces "irrelevance and death" unless it implements full API compatibility with Amazon Web Services.

But Bias's argument that cloud also-ran OpenStack should attempt to implement the AWS API – and by extension the basis features of compute and storage found in that cloud – appears to have struck a nerve in Scoble, who argues in his post that working on this could ultimately damage the open source project, which Rackspace has staked its future on.

In the same way the Americans worried about a missile gap emerging between themselves and the Russians during the Cold War, Scoble appears to be gravely concerned by the possibility of an innovation gap appearing.

"If you think Cloud innovation is finished, or that only Amazon can innovate (IE, do new things for new markets) then by all means you should drop everything and make OpenStack 100% compatible with Amazon's APIs," Scoble writes. "But, if you believe, like I do, that we're entering into a new age that demands new technologies ... then you must dismiss Randy Bias' advice and get back to work on building the future."

Scoble's commitment to the importance for OpenStack of developing cloud new technologies for smart Toyotas and Nike Fuelbands contrasts with the wants of the current cloud community, in our anecdotal experience.

When speaking with various technology insiders, this vulture repeatedly hears the same thing: OpenStack is Amazon Web Services circa 2009, and the lack of basic feature parity is a big turn-off when looking to migrate over to the system.

In Scoble-land, the problem is not that OpenStack has failed to attain parity with Amazon, it's instead that it is not already substantially better. One startup told Scoble they would move off of AWS "if OpenStack brought something to the table that Amazon couldn't match."

For that reason, Scoble says, OpenStack needs to put all of its efforts into developing technologies far in advance of AWS, without implementing any kind of 1:1 compatibility with the cloud system.

"OpenStack is set up to be that innovation alternative, but spending your limited resources on just copying Amazon is NOT what they are asking for and I believe would derail OpenStack's momentum," Scoble writes. "I'm pretty sure I'm not wrong, because I've met with enough startups to see a new wave of innovation is demanded."

Steve Bong was not immediately available for comment. ®

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