Rackspace President Lew Moorman says that the cloud market needs an open source alternative to the undisputed leading public cloud infrastructure provider in the market, Amazon Web Services.
Rackspace, which is one of the bevy of public cloud competitors to AWS, has stuck its stake in the ground with OpenStack, to be that alternative. But Moorman says too many vendors are instead "cloning" AWS, which he says will lead to Amazon being able to call all the shots in the cloud.
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"If we want real choice, you cannot be dependent on the roadmap of another provider," Moorman said after a presentation he gave at the Structure conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.
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Moorman says the evolution of cloud computing is bringing a fundamental shift in how applications interact with the underlying infrastructure. Whereas in the past applications and infrastructure were merged, with the application being limited by the capacity of the underlying infrastructure, today applications are decoupled from the infrastructure. "Applications are being built to control and manipulate the infrastructure," he says.
With those applications decoupled from the infrastructure, Moorman argues that customers will need choice in what underlying infrastructure will be used.
Moorman admits AWS has a "head start" in user adoption and that has led to other cloud vendors "copying" the AWS infrastructure model to allow for interoperability with it. That's a bad strategy, he says: "The idea of just trying to clone that is not going to work."
Naturally, Moorman argues that OpenStack, which Rackspace founded in 2010 with NASA, is the system that can provide this open source market alternative.
Invoking the open source contributions Linux made to the operating system market, Moorman says a similar situation is developing in the cloud world. "Linux has been a great thing overall for computing," he says. "There are going to be proprietary winners, and we need open alternatives."