My team and I have been heads down working to get Smart Cloud Orchestrator, our newest cloud offering, to market. Last week we had our annual Pulse conference in Vegas. I'm just recovering from its aftermath now and wanted to write a short blog about the experience. It should be no surprise that folks like James Governer of Redmonk offered some interesting perspectives along with Infoworld, and Wired. While I am very pleased to hear the overwhelmingly positive press coverage, I am truly stoked about the direct customer feedback I got during the event.
Between sessions, Vegas dinners, and the occasional shut eye, I had a lot of customer meetings. Since we first announced our involvement with OpenStack, Chris Ferris, Todd Moore and I have been meeting with customers all over the world. Most of these discussions were with customers already working with OpenStack on their own. Last week, we had the band together again meeting with customers together and independently. What was interesting for me was that it's no longer just the bleading edge early adopters! Many customers are realizing that OpenStack is the future of the datacenter and they don't want to get left behind. Similarly, more and more of our enterprise customers have seen the benefits of DevOps and its relationship to cloud technologies. Things really have changed a lot during this past year!
While standardizing on the IaaS is a critical first step, I was thrilled to hear how many customers are using Chef and/or Puppet These arguably represent the second step towards the fruits of DevOps. It really feels like we're finally ready for the next step in this journey. Ironically, less than two weeks before Pulse, OpenStack Heat was voted in as a core OpenStack project after a year of incubation. Heat was started by RedHat as an open source implementation of Amazon's Cloud Formations which enables users to easily combine multiple cloud resources together to form more meaningful solutions, applications, or services. Just as OpenStack compute moved past its original Amazon compatible APIs onto its own truly open APIs, I expect we'll see the same evolution in Heat. In fact, there is already an Oasis standards technical committee working on this very problem called TOSCA. I really think these two efforts need to converge so that TOSCA is the open standard specification and Heat is the open source reference implementation. The Heat team has been talking about this since its inception.
I really liked the way Jesse Andrews, one of the OpenStack founders, put it. Jesse has long been using the analogy of the linux kernel to describe OpenStack and does not want it to stray from this for its own good. When we talked about heat last week he again used an analogy from linux. This time he chose the debian package manager tool APT to describe heat as the package manager for the cloud operating system. I think this is a brilliant analogy, because the success of any operating system hinges upon the applications that run on it. Similarly, the value of cloud is in the applications or services that run on it.
I'm excited about heat and I'm looking forward to the next OpenStack summit to discuss its evolution. Our Smart Cloud Orchestrator is all about open reusable automation content. Be it native packages, chef recipes/cookbooks, virtual images, TOSCA templates, or BPMN standards based runbooks we want our customers, partners, and open source communities to be able to share and reuse cloud automation. I hope heat and TOSCA become the enabler for distributing and operating cloud applications and services. Anyone interested to help on this, please contact me and join me next month at the Havana summit!
p.s. Another great quote from Jesse was that he said SCO was "like Visual Basic for the cloud"! Not that I'm a fan of VB, but I do like the analogy.