OpenStack threatens PaaS providers with new project

It’s been a week of controversy surrounding OpenStack and the platform as a service market and it just got more interesting.

OpenStack yesterday announced a new project called Solum, backed by eBay, RedHat, Ubuntu/Canonical, dotCloud/Docker, Cloudsoft, Rackspace and Cumulogic. The blog post about it is very light on details. It says the project aims to ease the pain associated with:

--Application development and deployment

--Application lifecycle management across dev, test and production environments

--Portability between public and private clouds

OpenStack is positioning this as an application lifecycle management project. The trouble is, some people figure it sounds a lot more like a PaaS.

“Solum looks like PaaS to me, despite positioning as ALM,” wrote Gartner analyst Lydia Leong on Twitter. She also wrote that it would compete directly with Cloud Foundry, the PaaS designed to run on a variety of clouds, including those built on OpenStack.

The move is even more curious given the participants. It would seem that a pure OpenStack PaaS would compete with Red Hat’s OpenShift, which is itself a PaaS. Why, then, would Red Hat participate in the project? Maybe it’s there to make sure Solum only goes so far, without competing with PaaS offerings like OpenShift.

The Solum announcement followed dueling blog posts that started over the weekend, which Barb Darrow covers well over at GigaOm. It all stemmed from a Mirantis blog post suggesting that even before Solum, OpenStack was starting to threaten PaaS services like Cloud Foundry and OpenShift.

It’s always a challenge for an open source group like OpenStack to progress and grow. It’s only natural to want to improve the platform. But improvements have to be done carefully, without threatening a thriving group of companies that are building their businesses around the platform.

We’ll have to wait and see exactly what the Solum crew comes up with. But there will surely be heated discussions about it.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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