Cloud.com, OpenStack and the Longevity of the Cloud Brand

By Tiffany Trader

December 1, 2011

Throughout the years, the progenitors to today’s cloud architectures have been called many things. Distributed computing modalities such as client-server, grid computing, utility computing, and on-demand computing have, generally-speaking, morphed into what now refer to as cloud computing or simply “the cloud.” With past as prologue, who’s to say the cloud label won’t share the same fate, ousted by some up-and-coming term?

Over at TechTarget, Pedar Ulander, the CMO at Cloud.com, now part of Citrix Systems, addresses this very question. The concise Q&A also details Cloud.com’s support for OpenStack, the open source cloud initiative launched by Rackspace Hosting and NASA last year.

When asked what he thinks will replace cloud as the next “cool thing,” Ulander is firm on the staying power of the cloud moniker: “I don’t think this is one of those things where we’re going to see a wave of coolness and then it kind of goes away,” he responds. “Cloud becomes a new operating model. It is a fundamental shift in how people are consuming, delivering and engaging with IT services.”

“I think while we might see different themes come and go (IaaS, IT as a Service, Platform as a Service, ‘X’ as a Service, etc.), the underlying theme of cloud computing sticks around all the way through. So I think we’re OK with the brand. We launched about 14 months ago, and I think having the brand Cloud.com, as well as coming out as a very small company, helped us significantly gain the momentum and traction we have today.”

As a founding supporter of RackSpace’s OpenStack community, Cloud.com is engaged in driving open standards and tools that allow users to deploy open cloud computing environments. On this front, Ulander notes some of the progress Cloud.com is making with Open Stack.

“On the development side,” he says. “We added Microsoft Hyper-V support for the compute technology. We worked on integrating some of our networking stack into the platform and we’re working with them on some API compatibility, so we do have common frameworks for Rackspace, AWS or one of the CloudStack implementations. There’s a lot of good developer work happening.

“On the customer side, we engage with customers all the time who want pieces of OpenStack in their platforms. We have a couple of customers who are interested in the Swift offering; Swift is the storage service that mimics Amazon S3. We are creating the management framework around that technology so these companies can offer an S3-like service based on OpenStack.”

Eventually, Olander foresees a merging of the two code bases. “As OpenStack matures, it will become a part of our core distribution,” he says, but notes that should not affect customer adoption plans since the company is committed to making sure future platforms exhibit backwards compatibility.

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