Open source clouds based on OpenStack were popular in 2013, but there is more work to be done to make it an ideal platform, according to one CIO and cloud pro.
Here, Jim O'Neill, CIO for hosted marketing software company HubSpot Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass., reflects on the company's cloud projects and industry changes of 2013 and offers a peek into what the crystal ball predicts for the coming year, including open source cloud standards.
What cloud computing projects did you work on this year? How did those projects benefit your organization?
For SaaS products, I want to see more open source activity and investment in SaaS integration frameworks.
Jim O'Neill: We worked on various public and private cloud initiatives to expand our footprint to handle growth -- both for our production Software as a Service [SaaS] application as well as our corporate IT footprint. We also spent much of 2013 integrating various cloud products -- SaaS -- to have a more fully integrated back office.
What cloud computing projects are on the docket for 2014? What problems will they solve?
O'Neill: We continue to leverage both the public and private clouds to handle our workloads and our growing product footprint. We will continue to move the limited internal applications to the cloud in some form or fashion and continue to keep our colocation footprint for our corporate back office limited. We will also continue deep integration across back-office SaaS/cloud applications. We will continue to push for a public [and] private cloud to manage the right workloads and quality of service.
What was the biggest cloud news of 2013? Were there any trends or stories you followed closely?
O'Neill: It's too hard to single out a biggest story or event. There is so much hype and not any really large, tangible product launches in my opinion. OpenStack is still very promising but still fairly early in its adoption in the industry, and the hype machine is in full force. Amazon Web Services [AWS] continues to expand its service offerings and reduce pricing in highly competitive or speculative services, such as compute.
What do you hope will happen in cloud computing in 2014?
O'Neill: That the OpenStack project and software become more stable and clear in its product direction. Our sentiment is that while it's operationally ready for less complicated and less fluid workloads, it is not as mature as AWS.
That a standard cloud application programming interface body forms and works to start standardizing on compatibility between clouds. AWS has the largest footprint, and while various vendors, providers and even OpenStack offer compatibility, there doesn't seem to be a concerted effort to standardize.
For SaaS products, I want to see more open source activity and investment in SaaS integration frameworks. Products like [Dell] Boomi, [IBM] Cast Iron, Bedrock Data ... etc. are all good but all take different levels of setup, configuration and even development investment. HubSpot does a fair amount of integration internally between various major SaaS/cloud providers and would benefit from more open source tools, libraries and frameworks.
What do you hope won't happen in cloud computing for 2014?
O'Neill: That the OpenStack Foundation doesn't get distracted with the marketing hype going on and it gets more fragmented. It is showing signs of fragmentation in the media, and while we haven't seen the impacts to the actual source code or project, it is a slight worry.