Does Stratus Have The Formula For OpenStack Success?

By Patrick Moorhead - November 3, 2014
This weekend was Formula 1 racing weekend. In my hometown, Austin Texas. Many may not believe it, but Austin is actually home to a US Formula 1 race track, and there are other international races here. Each year tens of thousands come from all around the world, representing the pinnacle of wealth, and they descend on Austin, the same town that boasts a “keep Austin weird” campaign. As unlikely as that seems to be as a combination, it is similar to the combination of Stratus and high availability private clouds. When most think about the move to private cloud, they think about more conservative vendors like VMware and IBM leading customers down that path, but in reality, something that all of the big vendors still don’t have in their OpenStack solutions – high availability – is being delivered by Stratus, a company that cut its teeth on the idea of “always on” computing in the enterprise. Download our paper for detail on how they are making this happen. In Formula 1 racing there are high stakes, plenty of risk, and a huge payday for the teams that can overcome the odds to land in the top slot at the end of the race. Private cloud is no different. There is plenty on the line, lots of risk and, lots of reward for those that can successfully execute their strategy and move their business to the more agile cloud.

Stratus, known for their “always on” enterprise computing business, understands the needs for high availability as they’ve been doing it for decades, applications that need to be always accessible, and is now pushing that capability from traditional enterprise applications to cloud-based applications as well.merc-hami-jere-2013

The “de facto” standard for the cloud is OpenStack, a set of technologies that are bundled together to make it easier for customers to stand up (cloud speak for “deploy”) applications in a cloud environment. By turning the mishmash of cloud technologies into a single set of tools for starting a cloud, OpenStack has made it easier for businesses to deploy cloud applications. But while OpenStack was fine for many applications, it has a significant drawbacks for deploying the critical applications that business might be deploying today on VMware: high availability. Some of the applications that a business will rely on don’t require that “always on, always available” feature, but many do, and this is what prevents a business from moving off of VMware and into an OpenStack cloud environment. For most businesses, unless the cloud environment can meet all of their needs, it is easier to sit back and wait it out rather than try to jump in now knowing that not all of their applications will be covered. But now that Stratus is taking the flexibility and agile operating environment of OpenStack and combining it with the high availability that critical business applications require, one of the last hurdles in moving to the cloud is being removed. Stratus indicated that many of the customers that they are working with are now in a position to move from a more expensive and less flexible VMware environment into a more flexible and far less expensive OpenStack environment, mainly because now they can get the availability that they expect for their enterprise applications. Stratus began their beta program earlier this year with great learnings that have allowed them to streamline the program so that version 1.5, which is being announced today in OpenStack Paris Summit, is easier than ever to deploy, allowing for a truly highly available cloud. One of the more interesting aspects of the program is that instead of simply creating a highly available version of OpenStack that they would brand, they are actually integrating their high availability code back into the OpenStack code base so that anyone running OpenStack will be able to take advantage of it. Crazy? We don’t think so. We see this as an opportunity for Stratus to become the key ingredient brand for highly available cloud, just like Dolby is to high fidelity audio. When it comes to high availability customers are going to want to have a closer linkage to the company providing the code, so while this will be open source, we believe there will still be plenty of opportunity for Stratus. So as Austin grows up and becomes more of an international destination with its Formula 1 track, Stratus is also possibly changing the face of cloud computing with the addition of high availability capabilities in OpenStack. Both are growing up quickly and changing their perceptions in the market. For more information about Stratus and highly available clouds, download our latest research brief here.
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.