IaaS services, which Rackspace offers, in particular are maturing, he said. Forrester agrees, noting that IaaS is on the "fast track to maturity." That compares to PaaS, which Forrester said is less mature because most of the services are narrowly focused and lock users in.
Lock-in will continue to be a concern for businesses using these cloud services but 2012 may see more progress toward a de facto standard. Rackspace, Piston and others are betting on OpenStack. "The mindshare around it is huge," Engates said. In the coming year, big players like HP, Dell and Rackspace itself should launch their OpenStack-based cloud services. He also expects a number of enterprises to start talking about their use of OpenStack on internal clouds.
The interest around OpenStack may have one negative impact, however. McKenty expects to see some OpenStack implementations stall in the coming year due to competition for developer talent. "It will get harder and harder to find people with the skill set required to build large-scale distributed systems," he said.
Meanwhile, companies building their businesses around OpenStack are finding themselves up against Eucalyptus, which offers software for companies building private clouds that are compatible with AWS. Since AWS is the most widely used IaaS offering, Eucalyptus is likely to continue to attract users.
But Eucalyptus appears to be leaving the door open to OpenStack becoming a dominant player. If an API (application programming interface) from another major service provider like Microsoft or one using OpenStack becomes widely used, Eucalyptus will support it as well, following market demand, said Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems.
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