“Another very big emphasis we have is at the application-management layer on top of OpenStack. Virtually all of our customers buy OpenStack not for the sake of OpenStack; they’re buying it to develop and run applications on top. They want to make it as accessible as possible for developers. We have a huge opportunity there; a tremendous amount of value can be created.”

Work to be done
The future of OpenStack is bright, but it is not without the flashing lights of construction crews.

Sousou said that OpenStack needs particular focus on becoming more enterprise-ready. “One of the initiatives we at Intel started in OpenStack six months ago is the enterprise initiative at OpenStack. It revolves around the questions of how do you make OpenStack enterprise ready—things like high availability and manageability, security and compliance,” he said.

“It’s not really one thing; it’s a whole bunch of things. I think it’s just a matter of time until it gets there. In general, I think things are going in the right direction, but I don’t think it’s done. The core savvy enterprises will be able to deploy it, but for mass deployments in enterprises, OpenStack still needs work, and everybody is still doing the work.”

That’s echoed by Nelson, who said that many early adopters were left behind when OpenStack upgrades were released. “The upgrade path is not easy. I think a lot of people that adopted OpenStack early on realized it’s immature, and updates come every couple months, and if you put customer code into it you’ll be stuck when it’s time to upgrade,” she said.

Ionel is convinced that OpenStack is the technology that can drive enterprises to success in the coming years. “OpenStack absolutely can become the Android of the cloud data center. It plays the same role in the data center space that Android is playing in the mobile space,” he said.

“That’s the opportunity here; we see accelerating traction for that. We think more and more of the best brands in the world are the companies that have the largest infrastructures, the deepest pockets, and who make commitments to OpenStack.”

Red Hat’s Balakrishnan sees the future of OpenStack moving in a slightly different direction. “Eighteen months ago, OpenStack was viewed as this Play-Doh: How do we shape this to fill our needs?” he said. “That’s where storage and PaaS come in as excellent end destinations we can create. Storage, because on the public cloud side, the top three players make more than 40% of their revenue on storage, compliance, etc. Storage becomes the first use case that you don’t have to spend a lot to justify the business case. That’s why we’re very very excited about Ceph being one of the killer apps for OpenStack.”