OpenStack Summit: Why Cloud Acronyms Don't Matter

At the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, users and developers explain what really matters in the cloud.


HONG KONG—There are a lot of acronyms in the cloud marketplace, and according to the head of the OpenStack Foundation, none of them really matter all that much to people who really matter—the users.

Speaking in a keynote session here at the OpenStack Summit, Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, explained what OpenStack is all about and why acronyms are not something he puts much stock in.

"OpenStack is not a science project," Bryce said. "OpenStack is about creating impact."

For Bryce, that impact is best reflected in the use cases of OpenStack adopters. During his keynote, Bryce brought up Digital Film Tree, a leading Hollywood TV and movie post-production shop.

Guillaume Aubuchon, CTO of DigitalFilm Tree said that everyone in the TV entertainment business has a cloud today and that's how business is done.

For Aubuchon, the key to his business is the journey that media files take though the media distribution process. He explained that what his company needed was a way to easily package media file deployment such that TV studios could deploy content on their own. They now use an OpenStack cloud to meet that demand.

Fundamentally for Aubuchon, cloud is all about collaboration. "When we talk about what cloud means to us, it means creative collaboration,"Aubuchon said.

For Dan Wilson, senior manager, global infrastructure architecture, at Concur, the cloud enables his company to scale its storage requirements. Concur, a business travel and expense platform, needs to store data for up to 11 years, which is why the company chose OpenStack, Wilson said. Concur uses the OpenStack Swift storage component to keep up with the growing demands of storage.

The fact that Concur is able to get visibility into the code is a key feature for Wilson. OpenStack is open-source, and as such, Concur isn't just a user; they can also dig into the code and contribute back fixes, improving the platform for everyone.


The OpenStack Foundation's Bryce advised the Hong Kong audience that they should not be concerned about cloud acronyms. One of Bryce's slides jokingly had the acronym, acronyms-as-a-service (AaaS) on it to make light of the current state of cloud terms.

Those current cloud terms include platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and even XaaS (anything-as-a-service). Bryce stressed that what is important is the users and their own problems that need to be solved, which is where real impact can be made.

"There is a lot of talk about the future of cloud computing, and it's filled with industry jargon and a lot of acronyms," Bryce said. "Ultimately, terms are the least important part."

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

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.