2013: The Open Source Cloud Takes a Quantum Leap - Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: SUSE feat. Michael Miller

Michael Miller (Profile)
Thursday, January 17th 2013

During the year 2013 we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about open source clouds, a gradually improved economy, tablet-based computing and channel partners seeking to create differentiated value.

Open Source Cloud

This past year open source cloud technology arrived with the creation of a viable industry coalition: OpenStack. Many companies, including SUSE, took active roles in the coalition and released products that leveraged OpenStack technology. By year end the project will have reached an unprecedented level of momentum in terms of both business backing and developer community.

Next year, we’ll see the adoption of open source clouds take a quantum leap. In addition to traditional cloud providers, major hardware vendors are getting into the public and private cloud with OpenStack based solutions that integrate their hardware and key software solutions focused on specific market needs. The combination of enterprise-ready management, distributed storage and simplified provisioning will drive a rapid increase in production implementations. The OpenStack project will achieve a critical mass that we saw with enterprise Linux: Once customers get past the initial feeling-out process, they see the value and jump on board. In 2013, open source cloud will make its move.

Economic Situation

There has been a squeeze on IT spending in the US and many foreign markets for a couple of years now. This will continue in 2013, but will gradually improve throughout the year. As the divisiveness in the political and business communities in North America dies down following the Presidential election, companies will be more focused on growing their businesses in 2013.

In the open source community, sales of enterprise Linux should stay strong throughout the recovery. Companies that are under financial pressure will continue to consider options for their computing needs. Linux will continue to draw attention – not only as a less expensive alternative to proprietary options but as a tested, trusted solution for the most demanding mission-critical needs.

Tablet-based Computing

This may seem obvious, but tablet-based computers have become mainstream forces – and not just for people playing Angry Birds. Companies are deploying tablets for mobile applications, tying their work forces together in new and creative ways. This will continue to have a great effect on hardware vendors. HP and Dell, among others, are drastically changing their business models, channeling resources toward tablet-based solutions and further developing software portfolios as a source of new revenue and growth. In 2013, partners in the hardware, software and services will be forced to tailor their offerings with tablets in mind.

Channel Strategies

From a distribution point of view, 2013 will be the year resellers in the open source space adopt new strategies to provide differentiated value. They won’t be looking just to push Linux as cheaper computing. They’ll need to devise new ways to combine Linux with other technologies in the stack to take advantage of synergies with vendors such as SAP, VMware and Microsoft. We have seen a real trend with the channel wanting to be more than just transactional. UNIX-to-Linux migrations are a strong building block for a value-add channel and that business has not yet hit its peak. In 2013, partners will roll out new programs that work more closely with customers to create strategic alignment with multiple vendor technologies.