Why Amazon and OpenStack Continue to Thrive in a Complex Cloud World

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2016-04-10 Print this article Print
OpenStack vs. AWS

Operators are also adopting OpenStack for many reasons. The technology is used increasingly as a platform that enables network-functions virtualization, or NFV.

Among the big carriers that have embraced OpenStack is AT&T, which spoke about its cloud direction at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) in March. AT&T is on track to virtualize 75 percent of its network by 2020, using OpenStack.

John Donovan, senior executive vice president at AT&T Technology and Operations, was asked by the audience after his ONS keynote whether AT&T considered using AWS instead of OpenStack. He responded that AT&T is an operator, and for operators that need to run their own operations, AWS isn't an option.

Many large IT vendors, including IBM, HPE, Dell and Cisco, have embraced OpenStack because it gives them a software platform they can sell and manage, which isn't something those vendors could easily do directly with AWS. Large organizations like Walmart, eBay, PayPal, BestBuy and now Volkswagen Group have embraced OpenStack to accelerate their developers' ability to build and deploy applications.

On the other side, Amazon's cloud success has also driven many large organizations to rely on AWS to run operations entirely in its cloud. Ten years after Amazon began the cloud revolution, the company continues to lead the industry in many respects, but not all.

Although there is often a compulsion among pundits to compare AWS and its financial success to OpenStack, the truth is that the two aren't always direct competitors. OpenStack enables operators and vendors to build their own clouds—their own way. Amazon provides an evolving cloud platform of services with prices that continue to decline.

In whatever way the cloud is divided among public and private offerings, one thing is clear, cloud isn't the future of IT anymore; it's the present reality.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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