This week, the OpenStack Foundation launched the OpenStack Marketplace to provide interested parties with a centralized resource for vetted OpenStack products and services. The marketplace is organized into the five categories of Training, Distros (distributions) and Appliances, Public Clouds, Consulting & Integrators and Drivers. Public clouds listed in the OpenStack marketplace have to run a recent version of OpenStack and reveal their OpenStack APIs. Public cloud vendors included in the initial version of the marketplace include Cloudwatt, HP, IO, Internap, Kio Networks, Rackspace, UnitedStack and Vexxhost. OpenStack distributions and appliances that cater to private clouds similarly must pass the constraint of running a recent OpenStack version and exposed OpenStack APIs. Distros and appliances in the marketplace include Canonical, Cloudscaling, EMC, HP, IBM, MetaCloud, Mirantis, Nebula, Oracle, Piston, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE and SwiftStack. Importantly, the marketplace also contains a list of drivers that ensure the compatibility of OpenStack technology with hardware and software that leverages data from the Driverlog project maintained by the OpenStack community. Because all products within the marketplace must be screened by the OpenStack Foundation prior to inclusion, the marketplace allows consumers to make choices knowing that products in its purview have been reviewed carefully by the OpenStack Foundation and community. Designed to accelerate OpenStack adoption by simplifying the process of the selection of vendors and technologies, the launch of the marketplace represents a significant milestone for the OpenStack community insofar as it vaults OpenStack into the company of enterprise software communities such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM that similarly boast online marketplaces. IBM, for example, today announced the availability of its IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack product on its recently launched IBM Cloud Marketplace.
Piston Cloud Computing today announced its selection by Swiss telecommunications provider Swisscom to lead the development of its cloud-based infrastructure. As a result of the partnership, Piston will provide Swisscom with a cloud-based infrastructure built on its turn-key commercial OpenStack solution in addition to professional services. Swisscom plans to migrate the “majority” of its IT applications to the cloud over the next few years and as such, OpenStack-based cloud environments represent a key component of its overarching cloud strategy. Piston plans to deliver Swisscom with two interfaces in the form of one platform for Swisscom’s day to day operations, and another for its customers. Swisscom boasts over 6.4 million mobile customers, a million TV customers and 2 million broadband connections for retail. The deal represents an important coup for Piston as it continues to expand its presence in the commercial, private cloud OpenStack space, as well as for the OpenStack platform more generally. Swisscom’s selection of Piston Cloud Computing also illustrates the early success of the February release of Piston OpenStack 3.0, Piston’s most advanced turn-key platform for deployment and management of OpenStack-based IaaS infrastructures.
On April 17, the OpenStack Foundation announced the availability of the ninth release of OpenStack, the open source, Infrastructure as a Service collaboration. Codenamed Icehouse, the release boasts 350 new features, 2,902 bug fixes and contributions from over 1200 contributors. Icehouse focuses on maturity and stability as illustrated by its attention to continuous integration (CI) systems, which featured the testing of 53 third party hardware and software systems on OpenStack Icehouse. The hallmark of the Icehouse release consists of its support for rolling upgrades in OpenStack Compute Nova. With Icehouse’s support for rolling upgrades, VMs need not be shut down in order to install upgrades. Icehouse “enables deployers to upgrade controller infrastructure first, and subsequently upgrade individual compute nodes without requiring downtime of the entire cloud to complete.” As a result, upgrades can be completed with decreased system downtime, thereby rendering OpenStack significantly more appealing to enterprise customers that can afford little to no downtime for mission-critical applications and services. Icehouse also features a “discoverability” enhancement to OpenStack Swift that allows admins to obtain data about which features are supported in a specific cluster by means of an API call. On the networking front, OpenStack now contains new drivers and support for the IBM SDN-VE, Nuage, OneConvergence and OpenDaylight software defined networking protocols. Meanwhile, OpenStack Keystone identity management allows users to leverage federated authentication for “multiple identity providers” such that customers can now use the same authentication credentials for public and private OpenStack clouds.
In total, Icehouse constitutes an impressive release that focuses on improving existing functionality as opposed to deploying a slew of Beta-level functionalities. OpenStack’s press release claims “the voice of the user” is reflected in Icehouse but the real defining feature of this release is a tighter integration of OpenStack’s computing, storage, networking, identity and orchestration functionality. Just when Google Compute Engine, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure looked set to turn the battle for IaaS market share into a three horse race with some impressive functionality announcements and price cuts, the release of OpenStack Icehouse serves as a staunch reminder that OpenStack continues to innovate aggressively and systematically in its bid to assert feature parity with respect to proprietary IaaS platforms. This release, for example, announced three incubator projects in the form of OpenStack Sahara, OpenStack Ironic and OpenStack Marconi. OpenStack Sahara enables the provisioning of Hadoop clusters within an OpenStack environment, OpenStack Ironic provisions bare metal physical servers as opposed to virtual machines and OpenStack Marconi aims to deliver “highly-available messaging to web applications that run on OpenStack” in ways analogous to the Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS). The bottom line here is that OpenStack is rapidly catching up to its competitors while making a compelling case for inter-operability given the volume of contributions from Red Hat, IBM, HP, Rackspace, Mirantis, SUSE, OpenStack Foundation, eNovance, VMware and Intel in the Icehouse release. The key thing OpenStack needs now is more production-grade deployments and case studies of customer success that compel even more innovation and credibility within the IaaS space.
Mirantis recently announced a partnership Parallels whereby the Mirantis OpenStack distribution will be integrated into Parallels Automation, a hosting and cloud automation platform for cloud service providers. As a result of the partnership, cloud service providers can deliver IaaS solutions based on OpenStack to customers all over the world. The partnership stands to further accelerate OpenStack adoption by providing prospective customers with streamlined access to OpenStack provisioning and monitoring technologies. Moreover, the integration of Parallels Automation with OpenStack enables the use of parallels container technology as an additional container technology used in OpenStack deployments alongside Docker. Existing Parallels Automation customers can also enjoy the benefits of a unified billing experience for their OpenStack-based deployment that converges with billing for other hosting and cloud services they may have purchased. In conjunction with its $30M deal with Ericsson to license Mirantis OpenStack for a five year period, the Mirantis partnership with Parallels represents an aggressive move to assert the primacy of its OpenStack distribution in a climate that has seen less in the way of major announcements about OpenStack deals than might be expected given the tech industry’s overwhelming support for the open source IaaS collaboration.
Ericsson, the Swedish provider of communications technology and services, recently signed a five year software licensing deal with Mirantis for OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service technology. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal is valued at $30 million and consequently vies for the designation of the largest commercial OpenStack deal in the platform’s history. Ericsson intends to use OpenStack as the infrastructure technology for its internal data centers, telecommunications network and cloud computing services. Ericsson’s director of cloud systems and platforms, Jason Hoffman, noted that the company had begun using OpenStack since its inception and plans to collaborate with Mirantis to improve the resilience, durability and performance of OpenStack. The Swedish technology giant is considering development of an OpenStack-based cloud for its telco customers in response to telco pressure and feedback for Ericsson to deliver infrastructure-related innovation. Ericsson is a gold sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation and an investor in Mirantis, a Mountain View based company that specializes in helping other companies successfully implement OpenStack. Mirantis, which finalized $20M in Series A funding last year, boasts its own OpenStack distribution known simply as the Mirantis OpenStack Distribution.
Amazon Web Services Continues To Increase IaaS/PaaS Market Share According To Synergy Research Group
A recent article by the Synergy Research Group (Synergy) claims that Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the IaaS and PaaS space in terms of revenue. According to Synergy, Amazon Web Services increased its quarterly revenue by 55% to over $700M in Q3 of 2013, whereas the aggregate of revenue for Salesforce, IBM, Windows Azure and Google was less than $400M for the same time period. Worldwide, total IaaS and PaaS revenues exceeded $2.5 billion for the quarter, with IaaS accounting for 64% of cloud revenues, a surprisingly small proportion given the limited penetration of platform as a service within the enterprise. Synergy Research’s John Dinsdale remarked on the company’s findings as follows:
We’ve been analyzing the IaaS/PaaS markets for quite a few quarters now and creating these leadership metrics, and the relative positioning of the leaders really hasn’t changed much. While Amazon dwarfs all competition, the race is on to see if any of the big four followers can distance themselves from their peers. The good news for these companies and for the long tail of operators with relatively small cloud infrastructure service operations, is that IaaS/PaaS will be growing strongly long into the future, providing plenty of opportunity for robust revenue growth.
Here, Dinsdale remarks that the “race is on to see if” Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Google can decisively secure second place in the battle for IaaS/PaaS market share. Strikingly, Microsoft, Google and IBM have revenues that are very close to one another, even though one might reasonably expect Microsoft’s Azure platform to edge out its competition given its earlier entry into the market than IBM and Google’s Compute Engine (GCE). That said, IBM’s sizeable IaaS revenue derives largely from its acquisition of SoftLayer, which itself had a rich and venerable history that predated IBM.
Synergy’s chart illustrating Q3 IaaS and PaaS revenues is given below:
Notable omissions from the findings include Rackspace, HP, Oracle, Pivotal One and Red Hat, the middle three of which (HP, Oracle and Pivotal One) are still relatively nascent, and hence justifiably excluded from the present calculation. As Dinsdale notes above, however, “the good news for these companies” and for remainder of the space is that revenues are set to increase significantly in the near term. Going forward, one of the key questions for subsequent IaaS market share analyses will be whether OpenStack’s momentum and gradual maturation propels disproportionate growth amongst OpenStack-based cloud platforms for vendors such as HP, IBM, Oracle, Rackspace and Red Hat.