Cloud reinterpreted – from destination to philosophy and OpenStack

May 16, 2024
Todd Robinson

In this episode, we explore the shifting paradigms of cloud with Todd Robinson, President and Co-founder at OpenMetal, an award-winning open-source cloud. He joins Vinay to unpack how traditional views of the cloud as a destination/location are evolving and as a result, has lit a fire under businesses to adapt and rethink their cloud strategy.

They discuss cloud as a philosophy, the ongoing open-source debate, recent market developments that have motivated organizations to reconsider their strategies, how OpenStack has matured and how that has and will continue to improve accessibility and much, much more. Let’s dive into some standout moments:

Key insights

⚡Cloud as a philosophy, not a destination

Historically, ‘cloud’ has been synonymous with public cloud services like those provided by the big hyperscalers, e.g., AWS and Google Cloud. However, there’s a growing advocacy for a broader definition that views the cloud as a versatile, philosophically-oriented operating model. This approach is increasingly relevant today as the localization of services and data sovereignty become central to enterprise strategies.

⚡Evolving business context drives a rethink 

Changing business contexts and technological advancements have created demand for a more flexible and financially viable approach to cloud. The dramatic increase in server capabilities and the decreasing costs of hardware are increasingly influencing companies’ to rethink traditional IaaS implementations and consider more controlled, versatile ones.

⚡ Open-source solutions are enabling independence

The increasing accessibility and capabilities of open-source solutions are now enabling more companies to break away from a hyperscaler-only implementation strategy. Tech like OpenStack and Kubernetes provide the foundation for many large companies and are now more accessible to smaller organizations. These tools make it easier to operate cloud environments independently – giving all businesses the chance to achieve high availability, scalability, and cost-efficiency while maintaining control over their infrastructure.

Episode highlights

💡Cloud as a philosophy [00:03:36]

Vinay focuses on cloud as an operational model and Todd as a philosophy. Whatever your noun, one thing is clear — cloud is no longer a destination. This approach breaks away from the traditional notion of the cloud as a destination that is controlled by a few hyperscalers. By reframing it this way, there is no false cloud / no cloud dichotomy; instead, organizations can apply a more nuanced, sophisticated implementation. 

💡Where the wind is pointing for hyperscaler pricing [00:16:28]

Historically stable, cloud service prices from major hyperscalers have seen slight increases over the years. In today’s economic climate, with rising inflation and high interest rates, are we expecting to see price hikes? And with significant pressure on egress fees from the market and government, will this be where the hyperscalers bend?

💡The open-source viability debate continues [00:30:41]

The shift to the cloud has left open-source vendors scrambling, who weren’t prepared for the SaaSification of database ops. Add massive injections of venture funding to the mix, forcing a re-evaluation of their business models, and the pressure is on!

Licenses like MongoDB’s SSPL raise tough questions about balancing open-source ideals with the need for a pay-out. More recently, the Linux Foundation’s backing of the Redis fork, Valkey, has only turned up the heat. Todd and Vinay discuss the need for taking a more nuanced approach, with both big and small actions, to balance open-source accessibility with the necessary support to ensure long-term viability.

💡 So you want an OpenStack cloud? [00:44:23]

Challenges and complexities abound in designing and deploying a large-scale, production-ready OpenStack cloud from scratch; BUT, Todd contrasts this with the ease of running a well-built system, which requires minimal resources. He advocates for leveraging automated deployment tools and professional services on the front-end to get you where you need and highlights what that looks like.

💡The future of open-source cloud [01:12:35] 

The talk then takes a look at the future, with a key focus on expanding diversity of cloud models for organizations of all size, especially given recent market and technological developments, and underscoring the importance a) continuous development of expected native features in software like OpenStack, b) adding value-add services, and c) the community’s role in that.

💡Recommendations on devising cloud strategy [01:23:13] 

We wrap up with a request for Todd to offer a recommendation for those devising cloud strategies. Fundamentally, he thinks everyone should be aware of, explore, and seriously consider the alternative cloud deployment models now available, mentioning that open-source solutions have matured right along with hyperscalers and can enable them now easier than ever before.

Guest-at-a-Glance

Name: Todd Robinson
What he does: President and Co-founder of OpenMetal and InMotion
Website: OpenMetal
Noteworthy: Todd sets the strategic vision of the company, drives the product development of OpenMetal cloud services, and focuses on ensuring explosive growth.
You can find Todd Robinson on LinkedIn