CRN published an article “OpenStack Community Challenged by Dearth of Talent, Complexity.” In the article, the publication included comment from Josh McKenty, a former NASA engineer who helped build the platform and sits on the project’s board of directors. Now a co-founder and CTO of San Francisco-based Piston Cloud, CRN summarized McKenty’s comments:
“… an effective OpenStack implementation requires contributions from network engineers, system engineers, storage engineers, site-reliability and scale-out engineers.
“Developers trying to build and administer private OpenStack clouds for their internal operations are confronting a typical set of challenges associated with the lack of these diverse skillsets.”
“It’s really hard to find anyone with that breadth of skill so you really need to find a larger team. That’s really been a challenge for a lot of folks,” McKenty told CRN.”
Now if you are a service provider, approaching public cloud you’ll want capabilities beyond what a private cloud requires. You’ll want multi-tenancy, metering and billing and reselling capabilities amongst others. You’ll need to invest a lot in getting OpenStack up and running and even when you do that, it won’t necessarily solve all of these business requirements.
My question is what service provider can afford this level of investment and delay in getting to market? In a crowded and extremely competitive market (see Rackspace blog post), what cloud service provider has the time or resources to even recruit for all those positions and at what cost will you be recruiting? This is why OpenStack continues to create a log jam. In its current form, OpenStack requires investment to get it up and running and it isn’t necessarily easy. When you do invest, it then won’t solve all your problems. Unfortunately, at the moment this approach isn’t always viable for service providers because they get minimum requirements out of the platform and they’ll be tied to ongoing and expensive consultancy.
If you need to successfully commercialize the cloud, what you need is a cloud management solution that offers a stable core today and is also an extensible platform for tomorrow. This will give service providers the ability to get to market quickly with its customers and then use feedback to improve the platform to rapidly grow based on customer requirements.