Why cloud technology should switch to Open Source

Original author: Pete Chadwick
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In this article, we will present you the arguments for the Open Source for cloud technologies from Pete Chadwick , SUSE Senior Cloud Manager , Attachmate Group .

Speed, flexibility and customization. Here are the Big Three magic words companies use to justify their investment in cloud technology. But while the current largest cloud players are guided by technological interests, financial interests do not allow them to create an open development environment for cloud computing.

Open source, especially Linux, includes all three of the above principles. And after 20 years of Linux’s successful existence, we are on the eve of a watershed moment when openness is not only universally accepted, but also in demand. In the case of the operating system, and subsequently with the virtual development environment, the initial wave of proprietary options was followed by the appearance and then the adoption of open source code. Now the story is repeating itself with cloud technology: projects like OpenStack (open source software for creating private and public clouds) shoot with a bang. To date, OpenStack has secured the support of more than 180 public and private organizations around the world.

Open source was born in order to make technology more accessible and facilitate collaboration, and goes beyond patent law. These benefits of Open Source are, in fact, undeniable.

The choice

Again, the most important characteristics of the cloud are scalability depending on needs, as well as speed and ease of connection. But you will never get real flexibility while using any one specific solution. In fact, now there’s just a war going on between major cloud providers.

If you use several different technologies in your IT infrastructure, then you need several different cloud solutions that must somehow work together. This is not flexibility. But the move to "open clouds" implies the complete mutual compatibility of all platforms.

The company is investing huge resources in achieving integration and interoperability so that all parts of the IT infrastructure work harmoniously in the cloud. This allows organizations to maximize their investment.


In the IT world, it has always been believed that investing in open source is more risky than in a large own project. Combine these historical issues with the cloud security issue, and you get a real cloud security crisis.

But try to think about it this way: if you run your own platform, you are driven into the framework of the infrastructure brand. If you need to mix and combine different technologies, will each of the suppliers be ready to integrate with the others? And the lack of this compatibility is not an additional risk?

In open systems, security holes are very quick and easy, which cannot be said of their own systems. Since professional programmers and security professionals who are interested in developing on the basis of open source code will have access to your platform, they will undoubtedly help solve the problem with holes. No company will provide support such as Open Source.


History has taught us yet another lesson related to open source providers: they are very difficult to overtake in innovation, especially when interested parties put it on them. Linux managed to surpass UNIX in the server space, and now it collects 18% of all server revenue, according to IDC . In the Android mobile space, 50.9% of the market share is enjoyed, compared with 30% in 2010. More than 450 developers, who are only part of the entire international community, participated in the OpenStack design summit and invested their code in the latest release. This community is much more than the staff of developers of any company.

Used by thousands of enterprises and millions of users worldwide, Linux celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year. He overcame this milestone with the imprint of enterprises and mobile technology, which hardly anyone could have predicted. The next battleground for Open Source is clouds. Guided by the principles of open source, clouds can achieve significant progress in innovation and reach a fundamentally new technological level.

This position is held by the author of the article. Do you think clouds should follow the path of Open Source or continue to develop separately, within individual companies?