Last August, during VMworld, I had the honor to sit in a briefing with VMware’s Paul Strong, VP, Office of the CTO. As always he was engaging, and incredibly knowledgable. When he asked if we had any questions, I casually glanced around, and when none of my peers had anything to ask, I figured why not.
“What is the impact of Openstack on VMware, do you see it as a threat?”
The answer was not what I was looking for, he talked about the marketplace, how they compete on some fronts, but compliment on others, not quite what I wanted, but it was the right answer, I just didn’t realize it yet.
I have been doing more work recently with customers wanting to do internal private cloud, which of course means something different to each of them, but from my view, the critical piece is a self service portal. Enabling users to make requests through a website and removing the requirement for IT intervention, or minimizing it at the least.
What I thought of Openstack, when I asked the question, is that it would invalidate VMware, and all the things we have been talking about for years. As I have been working with this more, I think VMware becomes more relevant in these environments. While it is fun to put KVM in a lab and run Openstack on top of it, it is not at the same level. Openstack itself struggles with commercial support, with HP offering one of the more viable enterprise solutions.
In the end it all comes back to the GNU Manifesto, give the software away and charge for the support, thus those who want it for free can have it, but for most companies it makes more sense to get something with enterprise support.
So to answer the question, I would say that VMware, on many levels makes sense, adding Openstack on top of VMware simply opens more doors to have a well supported private or hybrid cloud environment.