This blog is in response to Simon Wardley’s blog post on “Rackspace going ALL – IN with OpenStack” which explores whether or not Rackspace wants to “build OpenStack into the reference model for a huge ecosystem (i.e. bigger than AWS)” and “manoeuvre to become the exchange/marketplace/assurance body for that ecosystem.”
Simon believes this would be “a bold move but a good play” — and we agree. However, it would require Rackspace to throw in the towel as a dominant cloud provider, and ditch their existing business model – something we don’t see happening.
To be “ALL-IN”, and truly promote choice and open clouds for end-users a marketplace/exchange must be run by an independent entity – not by an infrastructure provider with vested interests.
Even if Rackspace made this move:

  • Could the market ignore the possible conflicts of interest?
  • Would other OpenStack cloud service providers trust Rackspace to operate without any bias?
  • Would consumers be able to trust a marketplace which might operate with “perceived bias”?
  • Can you trust a vendor to run a certification agency to evaluate services fairly?

The good news is they don’t have to exercise this leadership and take this risk. They could support already existing open and federated models. At ComputeNext we enable marketplace transactions across multiple cloud platforms; it’s already possible to foster federation of OpenStack providers within our already growing ecosystem.
The models that Simon proposes for Rackspace are already being offered or refined here at ComputeNext. Simon mentions it would be important to:

Focus on growing the ecosystem rapidly
Build a certification and ratings agency (e.g. a Moody’s model) to ensure compliance of members offerings to OpenStack (essential for switching)
Build a marketplace for a market of OpenStack providers (e.g. a uSwitch model)
Build a computing exchange (e.g. where the real money will be)

We think that instead of changing their game plan, if Rackspace really believes in supporting open clouds, they can lead by joining ComputeNext’s marketplace today.