Big-name member companies like IBM, Dell, HP and Red Hat are all in the "early stages" of developing their OpenStack strategies. Red Hat, for example, just joined the project four months ago and announced a free version of its OpenStack distribution, with plans to roll out updates next year. "Big companies take months to launch products. They do it in quarters, not weeks. It will take some time," Curry says. "The momentum is there."
Staten says OpenStack can be successful, but he says the readiness of the platform is still an open question. The biggest signs of its maturity will be more vendors shipping OpenStack-powered production-ready solutions and enterprises adopting those solutions. That has been slow, so far.
Staten is not the first cloud computing analyst to offer sobering remarks about the OpenStack project. Earlier this month Gartner analyst Lydia Leong, another well-respected voice on cloud topics, warned users to beware of "dangerous myths" that are emerging about OpenStack. She says customers she's spoken with have inappropriately assumed that OpenStack inherently allows for interoperability with other clouds, which she says it may not. She adds that overall project "difficulties" are causing some members to internally reconsider their OpenStack strategies.
Krishnan Subramanian, a cloud industry blogger and analyst at Rishidot research, disagrees with both Staten and Leong, though acknowledges enterprise adoption of OpenStack has been slow. "I would give 2 more years before I write my obituary for OpenStack," he says. Compared to Google, Amazon Web Services and VMware, OpenStack member companies are spending comparatively minimal amounts of money on the project itself. These companies will make money not just based on distributing the code, but by offering products and services in support of the core code. "Expecting big money on OpenStack itself is a wrong expectation," Subramanian says.
The bigger concern, he says, is around having solid code within OpenStack that can be used by these companies to launch products and services, and by enterprises to launch their own clouds. "With Rackspace and HP running closer to OpenStack trunk -- they lag by just 2 weeks -- there is enough evidence to believe that the code is getting mature," he says. "They still need to fix a few kinks here and there and once it is done, it is just a matter of time before they could convince enterprises to trust OpenStack for their production needs. I think they have this leverage in the coming year or two."
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.