“We have Coke covered, we are looking for Pepsi”

OpenStack should “settle on AWS” and “innovate elsewhere” says Eucalyptus CEO Mickos

Chris Mayer

As the OpenStack Amazon Web Services debate continues to roll on, we spoke to Eucalyptus CEO, Mårten Mickos about why they willingly embrace AWS

The embers from the heated OpenStack debate over the embrace of
Amazon Web Services compatibility don’t appear to be dying down
just yet.  

The community behind the collaborative cloud
infrastructure project has had to endure lengthy debate in the past
few weeks
after CloudScaling CTO Randy Bias’

open letter
to the OpenStack Foundation reignited
the issue.

OpenStack was initially created as an open
source infrastructure alternative in 2010 and offers a set of
interlinked cloud components for compute (Nova), storage (Swift)
and networking resources (Neutron), designed to be run on standard
hardware. In OpenStack’s early days of 2010, co-founder NASA
contributed Amazon EC2-compliant APIs in Nova, before Rackspace
chose to place precedence on their own APIs in the cloud computing
fabric controller just before the project’s launch that

It is a decision which continues to cause
dissension in the ranks today, with

Bias reiterating this week
that “the
RackSpace API is NOT the right low-level API” and that “Amazon
compatibility must happen in addition to all other OpenStack
innovations.” This appears to be a swipe at RackSpace Startup
Liaison Officer Robert Scoble, who in
own retort
said that “copying Amazon” would
“derail OpenStack’s momentum.”

One interesting bystander in this is Eucalyptus, a rival cloud
infrastructure-as-a-service company which was “started out of
curiosity” to explore whether it was possible to create an
on-premise system that behaves like AWS, according to CEO Mårten

The former MySQL CEO told JAXenter that despite
facing “stiff dismissal” from fellow OpenStackers, Bias has done
the industry “a huge favor” by bringing up the topic.

“OpenStack was founded in opposition of AWS, and
they will probably never take API compatibility seriously. Instead,
they are trying to establish their own standard,” Mickos

Mickos believes that OpenStack’s narrow focus
and the shunning of the AWS API could come back to haunt

“For workloads to be able to move between
clouds, APIs must be compatible. For hybrid clouds to happen, APIs
must be compatible. OpenStack is now heading for hybrid cloud only
within the narrow set of OpenStack clouds and a number of them are
not even internally and mutually compatible,” he added.

Eucalyptus also believe the future is
, - that
, the ability to swiftly move workloads
between public and private clouds.

“We are making sure that Eucalyptus is API
compatible with the leading public clouds. So far, AWS is the only
public IaaS vendor with a large market share. As time passes, and
other vendors build significant market share, we expect to support
other APIs as well,” he added.

Putting all your eggs in one basket could be an
accusation thrown at Eucalyptus though. The company has long
championed their mimicry with AWS, inking a deal in 2012 to use the
company’s API. Amazon’s engineers and architects play a role in
designing new AWS-like features for the on-premise solution, while
Eucalyptus do the prospecting, seeking for customers who want a
hybrid solution.

“We just follow market share,” Mickos said
bluntly, before estimating that “AWS is probably 10 times larger
than its next closest competitor.”

“Jokingly we have stated that we have Coke
covered, and we are looking for Pepsi. It’s just not clear who will
be Pepsi. Perhaps it’s Google, perhaps Microsoft.”

Mickos is in firm support of Randy Bias’
AWS-friendly views, and while he agrees with Scoble’s opinion that
OpenStack must stay focused, he believes some of his statements are

“I disagree with his statement that following
the AWS API would consume the innovative power of OpenStack. Quite
on the contrary – I believe settling for a de facto leader in cloud
APIs would free up OpenStackers to innovate elsewhere in the
technology stack,” Mickos states, pointing to an example close to
his heart, MySQL.

“The discipline of not trying to reinvent the
database interfacing layer allowed MySQL to innovate elsewhere: the
storage engine architecture, the replication technology, and in
general the scale-out design. Today, 18 years old and passed from
Sun to Oracle, MySQL continues to power Google and Facebook, just
to mention two examples. There is lasting power in the scale-out

The former MySQL CEO is keen to point out that
there are exceptions to the rule, but is steadfast is his view that
OpenStack is biting off more than it can chew by going against the

“OpenStack, in its current constitution, is
undertaking a whole set of enormous tasks: define and create a
cloud API standard, define and build a cloud platform, compete
against the leading public cloud, compete against the leading
private clouds.”

Mickos is slightly more damning in his
assessment of what is already on the table, telling JAXenter that
 “the various components of OpenStack do not necessarily stand
out as supreme examples of innovation” noting Swift’s storage
competitors Ceph and Basho’s RiakCS.

It might seem like Mickos is an OpenStack
, but he is confident the project
will be successful
- just not in the way
the Foundation perceives.

“Red Hat is betting their future on OpenStack,
and OpenStack’s future lies with Red Hat,” Mickos argued. “As a
commercial product, it will be sold as a stack with RHEL and
OpenShift to CIO-led IT organizations with large and slow-moving
budgetary cycles, in competition against VMware and Microsoft. The
other OpenStack product vendors will be marginalized.”

Mickos goes on to mention that Eucalyptus could
even use OpenStack components further down the line, such as Swift,
when they are mature. The two project have differing end goals,
with Eucalyptus wanting to be a Amazon broker of sorts and
OpenStack a
n enterprise stack on its own,
Mickos believes there is room for
both in this world.

“Some people argue that the API is not so
important. Some people argue that customers will start to abandon
AWS. Some people argue that hybrid cloud is not so important – that
on-premise environments will be established with little regard for
what’s happening in the public cloud,” Mickos concludes.

“We happen to disagree.”

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