4 Takeaways from the OpenStack Enterprise Forum

Yesterday I attended the OpenStack Enterprise Forum at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View (one of my favorite venues, by the way). As the first storage company to join the OpenStack community back in the spring of 2011, we’ve been following, participating in and contributing to this fast growing ecosystem and specifically its enterprise readiness.


The OpenStack Enterprise Forum was an informative, entertaining and well organized event, and I would like to take a moment to thank our friends at SolidFire for putting this event together. Kudos also go to Gartner’s Lydia Leong, who tirelessly and intelligently interviewed every on-stage participant for 3 hours straight.

I’ve cherry-picked a few of the opinions voiced during Lydia’s conversations with her “guests.” This is neither a comprehensive nor a representative set of quotes; it’s simply what resonated most with me.

1. Moving beyond Service Providers 

According to Dave Wright, SolidFire’s CEO, OpenStack use in Enterprises is rising, whereas in the past, OpenStack was used almost exclusively by Service Providers. Given that the event was taglined “Breaking into the Enterprise,” it should be of no surprise that we heard this observation. But I point this out because we have been seeing the same among our customers, and are glad there is more anecdotal evidence out there of this trend.

2. Architecting storage QoS 

When Raj Dutt, SVP of Technology at Internap, was on stage, he pointed out that storage that provides cloud customers with quality of service (QoS) is needed, but is a rare bird. Note the implication that the incumbent storage vendors do not do a good job here. Cloud QoS has largely been an oxymoronic concept, and much of this is due to the architectural challenges of hyper-scale, multi-tenant systems. Both SolidFire and Zadara Storage resolve the contradiction by offering storage that was built from the ground up for QoS.

3. From OCP to commodity hardware 

The topic of Open Compute Platform came up a few times (the Open Compute Summit was taking place in nearby San Jose just prior to this event) and while there was no consensus about the relevance of OCP to OpenStack, one thing was not in dispute: OpenStack clouds, both public and private, benefit from the ability to run on vendor-agnostic, commodity hardware. This goes for both compute and storage. (This is one place where SolidFire and we diverge.)

4. Stop selling! A future of services 

Let’s close with a philosophical footnote. In the corresponding Crowdchat, hosted by John Furrier of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE, Phillipe Nicolas of Scality wondered out loud if we are headed toward a world in which IT vendors don’t sell hardware, but instead offer IT services. We definitely think so, and putting our money where our mouth is. We recently began offering Zadara OPaaS (On-Premise as a Service). Take us as but one IT vendor who isn’t selling you any hardware, or even software.

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