July 23, 2013, 9:56 AM — As OpenStack celebrates its third birthday this month, some project backers are reflecting on just how far the project has progressed, while pundits are saying that unless it makes some major changes, there may be less to celebrate in years to come.
Since NASA and Rackspace joined to launch the open source project in the summer of 2010, the promise of OpenStack has been to create a platform for service providers to build public clouds and end users to deploy private clouds that would all be interoperable, creating the hybrid cloud nirvana.
Execution has been "largely underwhelming" in the area of interoperability though, says David Linthicum, a consultant with Cloud Technology Partners. Progress is being made, but a Rackspace OpenStack cloud and those from a host of other providers in the project will not be inherently interoperable. Linthicum is optimistic many of these issues will be worked out, but much of the heavy lifting will be persuading the big-name players such as HP, IBM, Rackspace and Red Hat to interoperate.
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Some believe that if OpenStack wants to remain relevant it needs not only better interoperability within OpenStack clouds, but closer fidelity with Amazon's public cloud.
"OpenStack has a significant developer and vendor ecosystem but is categorized by a collective prisoner dilemma," says Simon Wardley, a blogger and researcher at CSC's Leading Edge Forum in a recent post The Trouble with OpenStack. "Forget fidelity with Amazon there isn't even fidelity between OpenStack distributions."
While there are calls for closer fidelity with Amazon, some in the OpenStack community seem to have somewhat of a distaste for AWS. Amazon's cloud is so widely adopted that it's becoming a default standard in the industry, Wardley says, so it's imperative for OpenStack to be interoperable with AWS resources.
OpenStack backers defend the project, noting that there is compatibility with Amazon Web Services APIs in the project's code, which vendors can choose to support. Companies like CloudScaling and Piston Cloud Computing support interoperability with AWS, says Joshua McKenty, one of the founding members of the project who sits on the OpenStack board of directors, while also being CTO of Piston.