Is OpenSource driving the Cloud?

Cloud Computing is all the rage these days and after drilling into many of the different services and solutions I noticed that opensource seems to prevail and propel the cloud. Before I go on my rant about opensource and it’s relationship to the cloud let me define a few things. By now most people know what cloud computing is but I’d like to just point out the different models of deployment and services that are most talked about. There are three different types of deployments you’ll face with cloud computing and that’s Private, Public, and Hybrid. Then within one or all those deployment models will be models of service consisting of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and IT as a Service (ITaaS).

Cloud computing is really making it easy for customers to setup and deploy opensource platforms that consist Apache, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, software like WordPress, Joomla, and XWiki, OpenCRM and also varying versions of the Linux operating system. With this customers are able to quickly develop and implement systems that used to take weeks, if not longer, in as little as 30 minutes. It’s almost like pulling into your nearest McDonalds where you’d order your favorite meal, hand them your credit card, then receive what you ordered in minutes ready to go. This can only increase the adoption of opensource because in most cases it’s cheaper to run, support and manage. Now I understand cloud computing is not solely confined to Linux and Opensource software solutions but many customers did not and don’t adopt opensource software on Linux because of the inherent complexities when compared with Windows. This is changing though.

While you don’t need to virtualize servers, storage, and networking layers it kind of goes hand and hand with IaaS and cloud computing. Most people will actually think they’re doing cloud computing just because they are virtualizing servers, which is not the case. Virtualizing the physical layers of most clouds today you have the hypervisor. The biggest and best hypervisor today, in my opinion, is vSphere (ESX) and the industry will probably agree with this. Hypervisors on the heels of vSphere are Xen, KVM, and Hyper-V. Back to the point about opensource, Xen and KVM are big in cloud implementations. They are both freely available for all to use and you could also implement one of a few popular cloud stacks created for orchestrating virtualized resources on this hypervisors. Eucalytpus, OpenStack, and are just a few of the top solutions that anyone can download for free for the purpose of creating their own cloud computing environment. I suggest anyone looking at cloud computing investigate one or all of these solutions.

I hear it all the time about saving costs in IT and finding areas that can use or be converted to an opensource solutions. While I know there’s more to it, it’s clear that customers want fast to deploy and/or low cost solutions and cloud computing can offer that. So, do you think Opensource is driving the Cloud or is the Cloud driven Opensource? Maybe it’s both?

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