OpenStack, he acknowledges, "still has a long way to go." Organizers of the project have been working on the core code for two years but he concedes "the proof is in the pudding." The true test of OpenStack will be when commercial cloud offerings based on the code emerge and end users truly embrace it.
Other cloud platforms are looking to fill a similar role. These include Eucalyptus, OpenNebula and CloudStack, which Citrix announced in April that it would spin out and make available as an open source project through the Apache Software Foundation. At the time of the announcement, Citrix officials -- unlike Moorman -- spoke about the need for fidelity with AWS. Since then, however, Citrix officials are comparing their system to the Linux of the cloud as well.
"For CloudStack, we have followed the same strategy that Linux used in its growth during the UNIX days: Leverage the [AWS] ecosystem with a set of common interfaces and innovate broadly within the API," wrote Peder Ulander, vice president of the cloud platforms group at Citrix in an emailed statement. "While we strive to have 100 percent fidelity with AWS, we continue to invest, innovate and maintain transparency of a broad API library for our platform. This helps us not only have AWS fidelity, but provides a broader applicability to what customers are trying to do with the cloud -- not just be another private zone for an AWS deployment."
Moorman questions that strategy though. "As long as they're just playing a cloning game, I don't think the world's got an open alternative."
Rackspace is putting all its chips on its OpenStack bet. Moorman says by the end of this summer, Rackspace will run its complete public cloud infrastructure on the OpenStack platform. He expects additional announcements from other contributing companies to the project. HP, for example, has based its Converged Cloud offering on the OpenStack framework. OpenStack systems, Moorman says.
"I'm not saying proprietary doesn't have a big role to play," Moorman says. "But there's no question that we need choice."
Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.