In my last Forbes column I discussed how Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and other open source advocates see the disruption created by cloud software and services as the business opportunity of a generation. Yet like most other IT revolutions, the cloud confronts legacy infrastructure, entrenched bureaucracies and incumbent vendors like Microsoft, Oracle and VMware are rapidly evolving their software platforms into enterprise cloud stacks. No one, boosters like Whitehurst included, see enterprises ditching still new virtualization platforms like vSphere and Hyper-V for shiny new OpenStack clouds. IT infrastructure is much too persistent and enmeshed in critical business processes for such radical change to occur overnight; just look at mainframe sales in the face of a couple of decades progress in commodity x86 servers.
Companies like Red Hat in the business of selling and supporting open source software to enterprises understand the sales environment and IT decision process, which is likely one reason Whitehurst has a more realistic view of how OpenStack can infiltrate big business: not through displacement, but supplementation.
This column looks at the advantages of and momentum behind open source cloud software, including disruptive new application containeriztion technology that could reshape cloud architectures, and how it is earning a place alongside vSphere and Windows Hyper-V in large enterprises