Hold my sign – don’t want to lose it

Do we really need Gartner to remind us that believing the hype can lead to bad decisions? If so, then we should thank Gartner for reminding us that cloud, OpenStack and many other topics come with a lot of hype and we should tread with caution. This is the compute industry after all.

I can just see the conversation now: "Ok Jim Bob, time to deploy our cloud. Most of the industry buzz is on OpenStack so I guess we better use that one." Well, ok then, hold my sign, I don't want to lose it (with regrets to Bill Engvall). To be fair, I'm pretty sure this is not the class of IT that Lydia Leong over at Gartner had in mind when she wrote her article. But it does make the point that IT is generally not so bland as to just read and believe.

By now there are many blogs out there on the recent Gartner coverage of OpenStack. One of my favorite blogs is from Boris Renski over at Mirantis. I'll add my inferior attempt to that growing list.

I find it especially amusing that we are surprised or critical that an open source project is dominated by vendors. I can't see that this is news. From my world view, those same vendors are the ones that have to make it work for a real IT group so somehow I'm not too worried about them derailing OpenStack for proprietary gains. Both because they are investing in the project to address an end customer need and because the OpenStack community has shown remarkable steadfast on keeping things open and transparent. It is in fact this strong, vibrant community that attracted Intel to be a contributor to OpenStack. As a vendor, it is not surprising that our interests are to see our technology used but we only invest where there is clear line of sight to customer value – not just to get Intel widget supported. The other companies I’ve spoken to are investing in OpenStack with a similar frame of mind. So, where was the problem again?

OpenStack is something like two years old and yet we are comparing it to solutions used in a different market segment that are greater than ten years old. At two years, the fact that OpenStack can make a credible response should instead be viewed as an significant compliment and a credit to the hard work of the community. Are we done yet? No, of course not. Intel IT has implemented an OpenStack based cloud but has

also published their wish list. From my worldview, maturity therefore is in the eye of the adopter.

The IT teams I've worked with over the years were always pretty jaded and skeptical for good reason. I really don't think I'm going to need to "hold their sign".