Rackspace reignites cloud war with Amazon

By Jack McCarthy, on Jun 21, 2012 12:00 PM
Filed under Cloud

Hits out at rival over lack of OpenStack standards.

Cloud services provider Rackspace has resumed its criticism of rival Amazon, accusing the company of locking customers into its services and limiting customisation.

Rackspace resident Lew Moorman made the comments at the San Francisco GigaOM Structure 2012 conference.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels declined to rise to the bait, saying only that his company was focused on customers.

This is not the first time Rackspace, a leader of OpenStack, the open-source standards movement for interoperability in building clouds, has hit out at its rival. Amazon, the largest cloud services provider, does not follow OpenStack standards.

Moorman told conference-goers Amazon Web Services limits the ability of developers to customize cloud applications, thereby making services less robust and more costly.

“Once you are integrated into a cloud provider, it’s very tempting to use its proprietary features for the cloud,” Moorman said.

“Amazon has made great advances and launched great services … But once you use their applications, and once you use these components, you are truly fused to that cloud provider.”

Moorman said some people have asked that Amazon’s APIs, which can link software programs in the cloud, be “cloned” to make it easier to build Amazon clouds. But Moorman said such a stance would stunt creativity and interoperability in building cloud stacks.

“What I want to say is cloning APIs in this way is not possible,” Moorman said. “This is not what’s going to happen."

Cloud builders want to customise services to take account of regions, costs and creativity.

“The truth of the matter is there hasn’t been good choice,” Moorman said. “What’s the answer? A true, end-to-end, open, scalable cloud. You choose the features. And of course, this is what we started OpenStack for.”

Amazon's Vogels said his company does not intensely follow cloud competitors.

“There’s two ways of doing business,” Vogels said. “One way is you can focus on your competitor, blindly running behind them. It’s not a strategy that works for us. We allow our customers to drive our innovations, and we are 100 percent focused on that instead of looking around at the ecosystem.”

In April, Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier said its cloud services were superior because "Amazon's proprietary system cultivates customer lock-in."

Terry Wise, director of business development for Amazon Web Services, responded in a manner similar to Vogels. “We believe the market is huge,” Wise said. “We believe there will be multiple winners.”

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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Rackspace reignites cloud war with Amazon
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