Open core isn't going away
On the surface, it would seem that the open-core business model could lose its popularity among open source cloud infrastructure providers. Bryce's comment about the features of cloud infrastructure "at scale" being too much of a table stake to only be available in a commercial extension to an open-core product does appear relevant.
Cloud.com quickly followed up the OpenStack announcement with a pledge to support OpenStack. As noted above, Cloud.com utilizes an open-core business model and is unlikely to reject the open-core model as a result of OpenStack. Rather, it's more likely that Cloud.com will utilize OpenStack components within Cloud.com's commercial product offering.
Next, considering Eucalyptus, cloud pundit and ex-cloud computing strategist at Canonical Simon Wardley writes:
This is also surprisingly good news for Eucalyptus if they move towards an entirely open approach. In such circumstance, the probability is we're going to end up with a straight forward "clash of the titans" between Eucalyptus and OpenStack to become the Apache of Cloud Computing. Don't be surprised if Eucalyptus even go so far as to adopt some of OpenStack's work. Marten Mickos is an astute businessman and there are many ways they can turn this to their advantage.
It would appear that OpenStack simply alters the landscape of features that are publicly available in an open source package versus features that are only available to paying customers. It should be noted that product support and maintenance is a feature, one that can be bundled with a for-fee product.
Select products based on business needs, not license alone
It's also interesting to note that very few enterprises are in NASA's position with regard to size of IT investment and skills in-house. While NASA engineers were ready and willing to contribute new features into the Eucalyptus open source community, few companies have the skills or governance to consider allowing their developers to contribute to open source projects. Summary trend No. 7 from the 2010 Eclipse survey results highlighted this issue.
To suggest that NASA's buying or IT decision making patterns represent much more than the top 1 percent of IT buyers would be a stretch.
The overwhelming majority of enterprises would rather pay a vendor to deliver, maintain, support, and enhance their private cloud software infrastructure than place that burden on internal IT staff. Whether the enterprise is paying for a closed source commercial product, a commercial product based on an open-core product, or a subscription to an open source product, the product selection decision will be made based on business requirements much broader than whether the product is open source.
Vendors are increasingly aware that customers select products that are both easy to adopt and easy to migrate away from. The opportunity to migrate away from a software platform relies on open standards and open data formats, and multiple implementations of these standards and formats, to a much higher degree than open source code alone. Supporting open standards and open data formats has little to do with the business model that a vendor selects to generate revenue from its efforts. Keep this in mind when deliberating between open source, open-core, and commercial private cloud software infrastructures.
This article, "OpenStack will not kill open core," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Rodrigues et al.'s Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.