WELCOME TO THE OPEN CLOUD

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1 WELCOME TO THE OPEN CLOUD Flexibility, Choice and Freedom for Your Business Written by Paul Croteau, Enterprise Marketing Strategist, and Gerardo A. Dada, Director, Product Marketing March 1, 2013 Business Resiliency Cover RACKSPACE HOSTING 1 FANATICAL PLACE SAN ANTONIO, TX U.S.A

2 Table of Contents Introduction 2 1. A Look Back to the History of Open Source 3 2. Considerations of Technology Adoption 4 Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 1

3 The open cloud follows a story line that parallels the rise of the Linux operating system and other open source technologies not only from the perspective of genesis and development, but in relation to business impact. Generally speaking, organizations can follow one of two ideologies when looking to make a strategic cloud decision: closed or open. History has shown that the choices and flexibility made available by the use of open systems can help your organization do great things, and history has a tendency to repeat itself. Traditionally, major software technologies have gained traction because an emerging market leader made initial adoption easier. Once a technology matures, the industry generates open alternatives that offer increased flexibility and choice, resulting in an open alternative that quickly catches up to and often surpasses the capabilities of its proprietary predecessor. We can look at the Linux operating system, MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, the Apache TM Web server, Android and Hadoop as examples. Once an organization has made a significant investment in a technology, the complexity and effort needed to move a given workload onto a new system or platform is often substantial. Most, if not all, IT organizations have constant pressure to deliver results. Switching costs, migrations to new or updated software or hardware platforms, and the associated risks may result in the ubiquity of large, monolithic and complex ERP systems not because they offer the best value for the organization, but because migrating to anything else is unthinkable. These are critical considerations today, as many organizations are making their first investments in cloud technology and preparing for the disruptive shift in how IT is delivered to both internal and external customers. Early adopters are already realizing how important it is to be able to control their own destiny, knowing that the innovation that comes with open technologies can bring dramatic change. A few years from now, organizations will have to navigate the consequences of the decisions being made today. Careers will be built and lost on these decisions. Those who choose a proprietary model will be beholden to the technology choices, schedules and priorities of the vendors who own and control those platforms, with business models driven by their interests. In a moment like this, it is incredibly important to understand and reflect on the virtues of an open system, where a global community of developers and users is driving the decisions of the platform via a technical meritocracy. This is the vision behind the open cloud movement, and it is now a reality that is helping thousands of businesses gain agility and enjoy the benefits of the cloud without limiting their choices in the future. Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 2

4 1. A Look Back to the History of Open Source The open cloud is the latest in a history of successful open source, community-driven initiatives. Today, open source operating systems are running the vast majority of devices we interact with every day, including automobiles, home appliances, medical devices and toys of all kinds for all ages. Even the wildly popular Apple operating system, OS X, is based on FreeBSD, an open operating system (although OS X is sold only in a closed, proprietary manner). From their inception, computers were closed systems. Each hardware vendor had its own thoughts around physical design and programming language. Large corporations came into existence, and by the 1950s, programmers from companies such as IBM or DEC were getting together to share their software code and troubleshooting experiences with one another. As corporate computer use continued to increase in America, so did the number of tech-savvy professionals. Then, in 1968, Informatics introduced the concept of software as a product, breaking from the trend of software as a fixed requirement bundled with hardware. At that time, it seemed as though two major players, AT&T and IBM, largely controlled the future of computing. In fact, the Department of Justice sued IBM on antitrust grounds; the end result was the unbundling of IBM s software from the hardware it produced. During the 1970s and into the 1980s, hardware manufacturers promoted a policy of shared source code. But as the competitive landscape grew, companies started to lock down access to their software. This frustrated developers who had grown accustomed to having access to source code and being able to improve performance, increase device compatibility, and create new features. Around the same time, two different groups were working to establish the roots of the open source movement, although the term open source had not yet been created. One group was the Free Software Foundation; the other was the Computer Science Research Group. Both helped to foster the creation of a huge amount of open source software over time. These free and open tools spawned, among other things, the massive growth and adoption of the Internet ecosystem. Then, in 2010, engineers from NASA and Rackspace met and eventually collaborated to merge their respective cloud compute and storage platform concepts into what became OpenStack. What began with two businesses and a handful of developers has since grown into an open platform run by an independent OpenStack Foundation, supported by hundreds of businesses and thousands of contributors. Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 3

5 2. Considerations of Technology Adoption Adopting any technology has risks, and moving toward open source software is no exception. In the cloud, the main benefits of open technologies are not primarily derived from the ability to see or modify the source code, or to use the software without paying a license fee. In the cloud, open is important because it mitigates the risks inherent in broadly adopting a software technology, while providing organizations both flexibility and choice. The open cloud is like an insurance policy for your cloud strategy. Let s look at some of the considerations of adopting a new platform: Obsolescence Technology can change quickly. Some technologies that used to lead markets are now completely extinct; others are used only because there are no other choices. Remember dbase III, COBOL and WordPerfect? When a technology is supported by a vibrant community, it has a much lower probability of becoming obsolete. Compare this to the alternative of being driven by a single corporation following a single business strategy. Availability of skills CIOs are challenged to find quality talent in areas like network security, virtualization, disaster recovery, storage and other areas. A technology that is more familiar to a broader staff is easier to adopt and to use properly. Open technologies allow CIOs to redirect the skills of their employees across different kinds of development areas. There is no such thing as an over-skilled or overstaffed IT organization. Vendor choices CIOs may cringe when it is time to renew multimillion-dollar software licensing contracts. But the real pain is when that software is no longer sufficient and does not meet current business needs. Legacy technology can often be so entrenched into a company s processes that the option of rewriting and switching to a different, better platform is desirable, yet incredibly expensive and laborious. Standards Open platforms provide an option to build to a standard that allows for vendor flexibility. This provides the freedom to switch vendors if or when a particular vendor is no longer meeting business needs or has unfavorable pricing or support services. For example, while the write-once, run-anywhere promise of Java never materialized in full, a large amount of enterprise applications were built on the J2EE platform with the knowledge that moving from one Java container to another one was not only possible, but practical, despite implementation differences. Architectural flexibility One of the challenges of a single-vendor strategy is the need to align with the architectural choices of a single vendor. An open cloud gives IT the opportunity to choose between multiple implementations of a technology spinning or SSD drives, automation versus customization, burstability versus predictability as examples. In addition, an open cloud allows an organization to adopt a multi-cloud strategy, Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 4

6 Business model flexibility The cloud is an enabler of innovation not only in the way it is being consumed, but also in the way vendors are offering it. An open cloud empowers IT to choose the right pricing, support, service and deployment/delivery models: Should my workload be hosted on premise or off premise? In a public cloud, private cloud or both? Should it stand alone, or does it need to be integrated with dedicated or virtualized infrastructure? Does it leverage a model optimized for CapEx or OpEx? Simply put, there are more implementation choices in an open cloud. A proprietary public cloud from one vendor is unlikely to be the right answer for all customer needs. Technology flexibility Similar to the architectural flexibility concept, vendors evolve a given technology guided by their own point of view and their profit interests, making decisions that will impact the future of a platform. For a technology as broad, complex and rapidly changing as cloud, it is hard to imagine that a single vendor has the knowledge, expertise and vision to make all the right decisions for the future of a platform. In the open cloud, innovation is born by the efforts of multiple contributors. Companies like Cisco, EMC, HP and IBM are contributing their knowledge in their respective areas of expertise, such as networking, storage, high performance computing and others. Other companies making their own private cloud investments are also contributing their innovations to the open cloud movement, as are thousands of individual contributors. The cumulative result of these activities is an open platform, available to anyone, that has been and continues to be designed by the brightest minds in the industry. Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 5

7 DISCLAIMER All rights reserved. This whitepaper is for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view on the issues discussed as of the date of publication and is provided AS IS. RACKSPACE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS DOCUMENT AND RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES TO SPECIFICATIONS AND PRODUCT/SERVICES DESCRIPTION AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. USERS MUST TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR APPLICATION OF ANY SERVICES AND/OR PROCESSES MENTIONED HEREIN. EXCEPT AS SET FORTH IN RACKSPACE GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS, CLOUD TERMS OF SERVICE AND/OR OTHER AGREEMENT YOU SIGN WITH RACKSPACE, RACKSPACE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER, AND DISCLAIMS ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY, RELATING TO ITS SERVICES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NONINFRINGEMENT. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Rackspace, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property. Rackspace, Fanatical Support, and/or other Rackspace marks mentioned in this document are either registered service marks or service marks of Rackspace US, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Third-party trademarks and tradenames appearing in this document are the property of their respective owners. Such third-party trademarks have been printed in caps or initial caps and are used for referential purposes only. We do not intend our use or display of other companies tradenames, trademarks, or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, these other companies. Welcome to the Open Cloud Page 6

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