Beware of OpenStack 'hype', says Gartner

Firms should assess the open-source CMP like any other vendor offering

Technology research firm Gartner is warning enterprises about the "hype" surrounding OpenStack, an open-source cloud management platform (CMP), which could lead to poor sourcing decisions by companies.

Developed by Rackspace and NASA, OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage and networking resources throughout a data center, managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while enabling users to provision resources through a web interface.

"Hype around open-source CMPs is causing some customers to make unfounded assumptions that may lead to poor sourcing decisions when they are choosing a CMP to build a private cloud, or when buying cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) from a service provider," according to the report authored by Gartner analyst Lydia Leong.

The Gartner analyst noted that vendors who are participating in the OpenStack project are doing so to challenge dominant products Amazon Web Services and VMware's vCloud stack: "the participating vendors feel that Amazon and VMware are much greater threats than each other."

Leong advised enterprises to assess OpenStack the same way they would any other offering from a vendor, use a third-party cloud API library or cloud management tool that supports a unified interface to multiple clouds and consider OpenStack only if they are willing to take a risk on an immature product.

Responding to the report, Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, told NetworkWorld that it "touches on a lot of different points" and many of the criticisms could apply broadly to other cloud computing projects. "We're early on in this technology shift," he added.

Leong's recommendations for enterprises about OpenStack adoption certainly seem prudent, given its early stage of development. As she admits, it is a promising early-stage project, but caution is warranted.

For more:
- read the Gartner report
- see the NetworkWorld article
- check out the OpenStack website

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