Last week I saw two announcements: HDS jumped into the OpenStack bandwagon and Cleversafe raised $55M in a series D funding round (WOW!).
At a first glimpse these two announcements have nothing in common but I think the contrary and they both lead to the enterprise (private) cloud.

OpenStack and the enterprise

OpenStack, as a framework, is commonly associated to service providers and the ability to build public infrastructures but, if you talk to enterprises (especially the larger ones) you can easily find an enormous interest in it.
“Enormous interest” doesn’t mean actual real life deployments or planned migrations from VMware/Microsoft but they are seriously looking into it to understand if this platform could be evaluated for their next infrastructure and how it can live together with legacy Mainframe-Unix Servers-Virtualized infrastructures.
Moreover, after all the NSA-sniffing-all-around scandals there is more skepticism, especially here in Europe, about public clouds.
Now, if you look at the HDS announcement, a company much more focused on enterprises than ISPs, you can easily understand why they want to be officially recognized as an OpenStack player.

Next generation storage and the enterprise

I intentionally didn’t write Object Storage but “next generation storage”. Also in this case, if you look at ISPs, the market is limited while there are loads of enterprises that are facing an unsustainable data growth.
Traditional tools are inefficient and expensive (both on hardware and software sides) and some enterprises are seriously looking at alternatives.
End users with expensive and difficult-to-manage multiPetabytes storage systems are no more an exception.
I recently blogged that an efficient object storage system could be considered the enabling platform for consolidation and many types of ambitious projects (like big data for example).
It’s easy to imagine that Cleversafe will use some of its money to target large(er) enterprises…

AWS compatibility and the enterprise

We talk private but we often think public. AWS is the leader of public cloud offering, it is building a huge base of developers and its APIs are a de facto standard.
On the other hand AWS doesn’t come cheap… large private clouds can easily beat Amazon in terms of TCO.
In any case, for an enterprise it is much easier to rely on AWS standards and, in fact, the first concern about every object storage project that I follow is always about Amazon’s S3 compatibility!
Many others already told that: Openstack (but also VMware and others?) should seriously consider to be more compatible with AWS if it want to succeed in private cloud deployments.
For the enterprises it’s easier to find resources (developers), products (software that already run on AWS) and ways to manage the applications life cycle between private and public clouds.

Bottom line

The number of effective Openstack deployments is still limited but things can change very quickly if the enterprises find a way to adopt it.
This could be a threat for VMware, if it doesn’t manage it correctly. At the moment, VMware is the leader of the virtualization (and private cloud?) market but they can’t ignore the signals that are coming from the field (and, I’m sure, they aren’t).
They always pushed Private clouds (of course) and It will be interesting to find out more about their point of view and the future strategy (also about OpenStack)… Fortunately VMworld is around the corner.