Damian Saunders, director for the Cloud Platforms & Networking Group at Citrix, agrees that proprietary technology is "toxic" in a cloud environment. Citrix also contributes to the OpenStack project, and claims that its CloudBridge product can provide effective IT management in an open source, hybrid cloud environment.
Saunders acknowledged that there is a place for proprietary cloud infrastructure within organisations whose existing infrastructure is based on proprietary technology from one main vendor. In this case, he said, it can often be a case of "better the devil you know".
However, proprietary infrastructure is only suitable for building general purpose enterprise clouds. For large service providers such as Amazon and Rackspace, or for special purpose clouds such as Microsoft Office 365 and Betfair, the industry needs a more flexible solution, said Saunders.
Saunders expects the cloud market to divide, with open cloud vendors breaking away from their proprietary counterparts and turning their focus to building special-purpose clouds. As well as the delivering cloud services like Office 365, these purpose-built solutions will also enable enterprises to put high performance computing (HPC) in the cloud, and build new platforms to deal with Big Data.
Meanwhile, the general-purpose cloud providers will also have to continue using open technology, in order to adapt and change as the market grows. "If service providers running open source platforms realise they need to be one step to the left, all they need to do is write it," said Saunders.