Bob Plankers is making the point that the purchasing proprietary corporate software for virtualization (such as VMware vCloud or Citrix Cloudstack) has its own value by avoiding having to build & test your own software:
There is an attitude among some now that OpenStack is, or at least will be, our savior from vendor lock-in in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud space, as well as something that will help corporations save a lot of money in licensing fees from VMware. While I see the potential I think there’s more to the picture.
This is true. HOWEVER…..
If you are building a cloud platform for 5000 to 1000 hosts, then considering VMware or Citrix is not a bad idea. It’s faster, easier and more reliable to pull some software off the shelf, read the manual and crank the handle and deploy a generic compute resource pool that you can fit your business into.
If you are building a cloud platform for 50K to 100K hosts then the numbers don’t stack up. The cost per host for VMware/Citrix quickly becomes unsustainable and using Open Source becomes perfectly viable.
Yes, a VMware implementation is more expensive in license fees and software support, but compared to hiring more people it’s a wash. You can spend $100K yearly on staff or you can spend $100K yearly on SnS from VMware (or Piston Cloud, for that matter, if you want commercial OpenStack support). For me, the tie always goes to the solution that involves fewer humans. Humans are expensive, take up physical space, require expensive, complex, and unproductive auxiliary support systems like payroll and vacation and bathrooms and laptops and air conditioning, are annoyingly subject to Metcalfe’s Law, and are often just as temperamental and hard to work with as VMware software.
When licensing software for more than 10K units, it’s more likely to be cheaper and better to use humans. Even better, you can design and more tightly specify your solutions to exactly match your business needs. Look at what Facebook has done with MySQL as a case study.
It might take another three to five years for OpenStack to achieve maturity (and that’s how long VMware needed to get stable and have the features) but OpenStack looks to be the most viable contender for cloud deployments at scale.
Given a choice between buying more humans or buying more vendor support I usually side with whatever solution has fewer humans, and automating the difference. And frankly, most organizations will opt to have a commercial support contract anyhow, thereby negating most of the SnS savings arguments.
Here is where I respectfully disagree. While it is complex and “hard” to manage a lot of human meat puppets to deliver projects, Amazon has proven that it’s possible. And Facebook. And Google. You business can also achieve these outcomes if you are smart and able to refocus on your IT resources.
Certainly, the MBAs of this world (now proving to be mostly worthless) would prefer to have zero workers and maximum profit. And Boeing has discovered that too much outsourcing causes it’s own problem (and buying commercial software IS outsourcing )
And that’s a major problem. It will take a few more years before you can “redesign” your IT Team to work in new ways. Until then, VMware is a good enough answer for more organisations to start on the “cloud journey” but I’m doubtful that VMware is part of the big future.