OpenStack abandons AWS challenge dreams, makes eyes at telcos

Virtualisation is the future. Not cloud. Got that?


OpenStack, once seen as the open alternative to Amazon’s AWS, is positioning itself as virtualized telecoms middleware.

The open-source project has rolled out a white paper championing Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) with backing from the big dogs of telecoms.

The report calls on developers to get involved with and help build NFV, which OpenStack reckons will be ready for production this year.

According to the paper: “OpenStack is the best fit infrastructure for NFV implementations... whether you chose to implement a solution based on the OpenNFV framework, a vendor solution or build it in house based on the ETSI NFV specification, OpenStack is at the head of most offerings.”

OpenStack listed AT&T, China Telecom, Verizon, NTT Group, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica as “the world’s largest communications companies” implementing NFV with OpenStack.

NFV allows such firms to swap out costly proprietary and hardware-based equipment for open-source and virtualized OpenStack software. It means they can create services more quickly, because they are virtualized and software based, and potentially at lower cost as the work is done in software.

It’s a worthy use of OpenStack, but hardly what the founders envisioned back in 2010.

Back then, OpenStack was to be the open-source alternative to Amazon’s proprietary AWS. Since those ambitious days, however, public clouds running on OpenStack have not materialized as the market has gone to either AWS or, increasingly, Microsoft’s Azure.

The final nail in that open-source cloud dream came last year when Hewlett-Packard said it was killing its OpenStack based Helion cloud service.

HP is the single largest contributor and participant in OpenStack.

The chief technology officer of Automic Software John Purrier told The Register this week, ahead of the OpenStack paper's launch, that those behind OpenStack had underestimated AWS.

Purrier has been involved in OpenStack since 2010 at OpenStack prime mover Rackspace before becoming an OpenStack director project policy board member, then executive running HP’s cloud services infrastructure, cloud services and customer satisfaction.

He told The Register: “The public cloud space is a tougher business than people think it is. When I was at HP we had large ambitions - we stood up a lot of servers and a couple of data centres. What we overlooked was the entrenched position Amazon has in this space. Today when you talk public cloud, you have to take Amazon into the equation." ®


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