Thoughts From OpenStack Silicon Valley: Part 1

September 18, 2014

by Evan Powell

The OpenStack Silicon Valley summit took place on Tuesday, and I had a blast! There were a lot of recent developments discussed at the summit, including HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus, and I had the opportunity to meet old friends and make some new. There’s a lot that took place, so I’ll split this into two blog posts. In this first one I’ll discuss some of the recent announcements and what HP and Cisco brought to the summit. In the second part, I’ll discuss VMware and some of my overall takeaways.

First, as is the case in any conference, much of the value is found in the hallways. I ran into a couple of StackStorm users and advisors, a bunch of friends I knew via Nexenta, and had some great honest conversations.

I think my first chat post coffee (when my brain started to switch on) was with Bernard Golden from ActiveState, Stephen Spector from HP, and Jesse Proudman from Blue Box. That got me into a great mood and gives you an idea of who attended – lots and lots of thoughtful folks willing to share their perspectives.

As you can imagine there were several subjects that came up in these conversations, including who is getting bought – next. The HP acquisition of Marten Mickos and also Eucalyptus got everyone’s attention. Marten as always was a gracious speaker.  We’re lucky that his considerable talents are now largely directed towards helping OpenStack – now that he is running HP’s Helion cloud efforts. The general consensus is that all the oxygen has gone out of the distribution business for the small guys (as I’ve been predicting for a long time), with the possible exception of Mirantis, who really does seem to have the scale and the team to continue to grow their services revenues and to eventually build a more scalable business. Full disclosure – we just announced a significant partnership with Mirantis.

Speaking of HP, the sheer scale of HP’s efforts drew some comments. As one friend put it – that’s a company that can just “shit money.” I was a little taken aback by that image which hit me post coffee but pre breakfast, however I agree with the basic point. HP really is all in on OpenStack. That was a point emphasized by Martin Fink, one of HP’s CTOs, in his keynote when he stated that HP, as of the current release, is by most measures the most active contributor to OpenStack. As a side note, kudos to HP’s Bill Franklin who managed to both provide the most real content and to draw the most laughs of any of the “lightning talks.”

Cisco’s presence was quite notable as well. Even pre-coffee I was accosted, in a friendly way, while walking from my car by a couple of Cisco recruiters who were handing out information on twenty five OpenStack jobs Cisco is looking to fill. The company announced their acquisition of Metacloud, and OpenStack private cloud-as-a-service company. And I saw a great walk through of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) at Cisco’s booth. The only part that made me a little nervous was when they talked about how it could work with OpenStack Congress, assuming something could be used to translate the policies stored in OpenStack Congress into something ACI could interpret. That led to an effort to sell services Cisco also offers to others who stopped by the booth. And it reminded me of Cisco’s approach to SIP vs. SCCP back in my IP Communications days. Cisco historically has been very good at how to create and “play” standards while, it should be emphasized, making customers successful and loyal.

Look for the second part of the blog that will post tomorrow, where I discuss some more thoughts on what companies like VMware are bringing to OpenStack.