Open Source will Dominate the Infrastructure Stack in the Corporate Data Center

The coming year will see an increasing demand from customers who want to run their data centers along "webscale IT" practices, but the challenge will be how to provide environments that work simultaneously for legacy applications and new cloud-native ones simultaneously. Whatever technologies are chosen, open source will dominate more and more of the infrastructure stack in the corporate data center.

On the compute side, OpenStack will continue to be the poster child for the new world, and will continue to get traction in the enterprise. 2014 will see many more deployments made public but there will be no single dominant use-case that emerges, instead a thousand flowers will bloom as businesses deploy new applications but also have to discover from first principles what existing workloads can be migrated. PaaS, in the form of CloudFoundry and Openshift, will finally become mainstream and be one of the more common applications running on widely available IaaS platforms. VMware will continue to take a hedged position against Openstack, safe in the knowledge that legacy applications will take time to move to the cloud.

On the network side, it will be a slow year for software-defined networking deployments as the complexity and immaturity of the technology continues to retard adoption. Most activity will be among vendors as they collaborate around projects like the Linux Foundation's Open Daylight project and few commercial products will see mainstream adoption until 2015.

2014 will be a break out year for open source storage. Projects such as Ceph, Swift, and Gluster will see increasing growth in their communities and will move beyond parity with legacy storage technologies to deliver new innovations. The combination of mature products (based on open source projects), numerous, large scale deployments and the ability to run both legacy and new workloads on scale-out storage will convince the market that open source is the best strategy to manage data growth and costs.

ONTAP, OneFS and other proprietary storage operating systems will no longer be a barrier to entry to the storage market and, just as Android allowed ODMs and new OEMs to enter the phone handset market, open source storage will allow new hardware vendors to emerge to take on EMC and NetApp.

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About the Author
Neil Levine is the vice president of product management at Inktank. With a background in large systems infrastructure and open-source software, Neil is responsible for Inktank's product strategy. Neil was co-founder and VP Product at venture-backed start-up Nodeable, and before that was GM/VP at Canonical, the commercial sponsors of the Ubuntu operating system, where he ran the unit which built tools and delivered services to Ubuntu's enterprise customers, as well as being responsible for server and cloud product strategy. As CTO of Claranet, one of the largest independent internet service and hosting providers in Europe, Neil helped build the company from 15- employee organization to a 650-strong company operating in nine countries.

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