I like attending events and conferences because they allow to measure the temperature of a given technology within its target market.
You could argue that an Italian event, maybe, could not be so relevant on the world stage (even if we Italians have a long time culture of Open Source) but a ratio of ten to one between vendors and customers is a first significant information that can be desumed from this first OpenStack Day in Milan.
On stage, after the-always-excellent Jonathan Bryce (Executive Director at OpenStack Foundation), have been represented some of the vendors (all platinum members of the OpenStack Foundation) that are developing one or more products based on OpenStack, in order: Rackspace, HP, Red Hat and Suse.
The feeling that comes from the speeches, added to those that I, and other analysts, already expressed in the past can be quickly resumed with “confusion” and “lack of focus”.
From all the presentations emerges a lack of strategy at the base of the marriage with OpenStack. Instead of being perceived as one of the pieces of a cloud readiness proposal, is often considered a commercial bulwark that creates embarrassment when the famous question comes “yes, but why?” .
If we exclude Red Hat, that draws a quick win having recently bought Alessandro Perilli (former Gartner analyst on Cloud Computing topics) with the intention, I presume, to leave the empasse to its competitors, other vendors seem not able to present themselves as a business partners in relation to their enterprise customers or being able to support them in a transformation that touches all the layers of corporate’s IT.
On the contrary, the tendency to simplify the implications of the adoption of Hybrid and Private Cloud strategies brings the customer to perceive this technology only as a “turn on and off virtual machines” without asking themselves the right questions about compatibility, integration and application deployment.
At present, the success or failure of OpenStack will be determined by how the vendors will be able to understand and react to an unprecedented change in the market that touches not only the technological issues but also corporate’s procedural and business logics.
Waiting to see the first real-world deployments of OpenStack I can only hope that vendors will change their mindset investing in a structured strategy, for the first time, before their customers.