Walmart's cloud is open source for the wrong reasons

Walmart wants to hurt rival retailer Amazon by providing an AWS alternative

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Walmart Stores is entering into cloud computing ... kinda. Last week, Walmart announced it will open-source the cloud technology it has built up following its acquisition of OneOp about two years ago. (Walmart maintains a 2,000-person presence in Silicon Valley.) Walmart says it will upload the source code to GitHub by 2016.

For Walmart, this is all about putting a dent in the growth of its major rival Amazon.com. Amazon has been giving Walmart fits on the retail side for the last decade. Now Walmart is moving the battle to the cloud, with Walmart basically declaring that Amazon Web Services means cloud lock-in that enterprises can avoid if they use the open source Walmart technology instead.

Do we need another open cloud software stack? After all, we don’t really seem to be using the ones we have already, such as OpenStack. And do enterprises really want to adopt a technology that's aimed at tossing a monkey wrench into Amazon’s engines rather than protecting the world from proprietary clouds?

I believe Walmart's stack will be forgotten outside of Walmart. I don't believe it would have the desired effect at hurting AWS.

The market is headed toward public cloud services, proprietary or not. You can resolve the lock-in issue by using good application architecture, as well as by using new technologies such as containers. You need to have an exit strategy with any platform you move to, including AWS, Azure, Google, OpenStack, and OneOps.

At the end of the day, you need to pick the best platform for your requirements, from a provider you can be confident is serious over the long haul. Even if Walmart's stack delivers on your requirements, I'm not convinced Walmart is committed over the long haul.

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