Lessons From AWS Part II: Is Open Source Lock-In Better?

Gabriel Lowy | Tech-Tonics | June 15, 2013

In Part I, I drew comparisons between AWS and Walmart, and emphasized differentiation as the key component to compete with the 800-pound cloud gorilla.  For over a decade, I have held that open source is the antidote to vendor lock-in and dis-innovation.  In Part II, I maintain that advocacy, but with a caveat.  Open source cloud platforms are attractive for the same reasons Linux took hold, low cost entry point and application portability. But with competing initiatives from OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus, among others, and a bevy of software management tool providers, the question enterprises need to answer as they consider private, public and hybrid cloud options is, “Is open source lock-in better than AWS lock-in?”

The stakes are big. Gartner pegs the public cloud market at $131 billion in 2013.  The majority of this is social media and marketing services such as Facebook and Google AdSense, respectively, as well as myriad startups that will never build their own infrastructure. And according to a recent IDC forecast, worldwide spending on hosted private cloud will grow to over $24 billion by 2016.