October 15, 2012, 10:42 AM — The OpenStack cloud computing project needs to get a move on it, says Forrester analyst James Staten. Specifically, he says member organizations need to start seeing a return on their investments, or else may become disinterested.
More than two and a half years old now, the OpenStack project has gained significant momentum in the past year, in large part because big-name companies such as VMware, Red Hat and IBM have joined the likes of Rackspace, Cisco, Dell and HP to contribute more than $10 million to the project.
Despite the investments, Staten points out there have been relatively few "enterprise-ready" OpenStack-powered products on the market. Canonical, SUSE, Rackspace and Morphlabs are some of the companies with OpenStack distributions so far, he notes. Meanwhile, Rackspace and HP are two of the biggest companies to use the OpenStack code to power their own clouds.
Competing open source cloud management platforms CloudStack and Eucalyptus have a "big lead" in terms of production deployments of their systems and their ability to generate revenue, Staten says. Those are "key motivations" for keeping a vendor engaged in an open source project. "OpenStack needs to start producing revenue for its partners," Staten says. "The clock is ticking."
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OpenStack backers claim Staten is spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) about the project. "It's still very early," says Jim Curry, general manager of Rackspace's private cloud business. "We absolutely want people to make money on this," which is why vendors are contributing code to the project to ensure their products and services work in the OpenStack ecosystem.