Open Source: shaping the Public Cloud

Public Cloud Ecosystem

Open source — Shaping the Public Cloud

The code hosting and collaborative platform GitHub is currently used by 1.8 million organisations, with over 36 million developers contributing to it. The innovation and creativity at the heart of communities like this has seen the adoption of open source rise rapidly. 

In fact, some of the biggest companies in the world are now both using aspects of open-source projects and open-sourcing their own code. For example, in 2018 Netflix shared its container management platform, “Titus”, with the community. The open-source method of building software is now mainstream, and some of the main players are no longer keeping their code under lock and key. So has the open-source battle been won?

The advantages of the Public Cloud

A threat to open source

In the cloud market, the relationship between the cloud and open source is a little more complicated and can be open to abuse. For example, large players have received heavy criticism for using source code to develop their own propriety versions of tools, while arguably contributing nothing back to the open-source community

As a result, the open-source communities who have developed the original code are forced to watch their concepts used for commercial purposes – often against their express wishes – losing potential users in the process. In extreme cases, this can even lead to the industry giants wrestling control of the software from its creators, in complete defiance of the original spirit of open source, and creating vendor lock-in, where customers are forced to use their solutions, and their solutions alone.

Such aggressive tactics are difficult to police, as nothing these organisations are doing is technically illegal, thanks to the lack of robust, industry-standard licenses for open-source software.

While organisations such as the Open Source Initiative (OSI) ostensibly exist for this purpose, their current system of licensing does nothing to protect open-source creators who do not want their work co-opted and re-sold ‘as-a-service’

Produits Public Cloud

A different open-source philosophy

There is, however, an alternative approach to open source… One where cloud vendors commit to the open-source concepts of interoperability and reversibility in order to offer a genuine “no-lock-in” strategy.

In truth, everybody wants to innovate and grow, but this can only happen quickly and affordably when developers are able to move easily between different frameworks and adopt a hybrid cloud approach.

When executing a cloud strategy, there is a high chance that your applications will suit different approaches. Some workloads might be perfectly matched to a specific public cloud provider, while others might be better hosted in house, or with an alternative vendor. In any case, as you invest more in your project and scale up, a mono-cloud approach could be especially risky. The more data you put in a cloud giant’s propriety basket, the more difficult it will be to get it out again, should you ever need to migrate.

OVHcloud offers an alternative Public Cloud… and it’s open!

So where does OVHcloud fit into this philosophy?

Our OpenStack-powered Public Cloud is a perfect example of our vision for and investment in open-source technology. Since 2012, OVHcloud has built on the 100% open-source OpenStack platform and constantly strives to offer a fully-reversible and interoperable Public Cloud, as well as a host of other services. 


Reversibility in the cloud implies the ability to take your data out, move it and retrieve it. After developing multiple applications with one provider, what happens when you want to migrate? At OVHcloud this is technically easy and inexpensive, as we accept multiple virtual disk formats and have enabled export features everywhere data is stored. Furthermore, in an effort to further expand the reversibility concept, we have made the decision not to charge for Public Cloud traffic at all, because we understand that the cost of ingress and egress traffic could be an impediment to you moving your data in and out of any cloud. Indeed, we only charge for bandwidth for APAC services, object storage and archive storage.


Interoperability is mainly a technical topic, concerning compatibility with tools and APIs. The entire Public Cloud stack is based on the OpenStack platform, so all the existing OpenStack tools, habits and scripts are entirely compatible with it. OVHcloud uses and supports OpenStack APIs, which ensures that your cloud environments are capable of operating effortlessly in hybrid mode between the OVHcloud Public Cloud and different cloud providers.

Indeed, with open standards in general, true hybrid capability is less of a challenge. This is a bonus, if, for example, you want to host some workloads on a PaaS provider, such as AWS, and bring OVHcloud into the picture when you need better control of your pricing. In this regard, our Public Cloud uses a pay-as-you-go model, which means predictable, attractive pricing, with no hidden costs, giving you healthy control of your budget.

OVHcloud continues to innovate around open source

It should also be noted that we are not only one of the most high-profile users of OpenStack, but we have never stopped transforming and innovating around this technology. As one of the world’s largest OpenStack Public Cloud deployments, our main contribution is our exhaustive experience running on OpenStack at scale. We provide feedback on pain points, contribute code and resources and stay as close as possible to the upstream code.

OVHcloud's involvement in the OpenStack community since 2014 has proven that open collaboration works, and we look forward to their continued success as they expand into APAC. 

Mark Collier, COO at OpenStack Foundation

For example, when our Public Cloud started to take off, identifying bottlenecks at the network level in 2014, we removed the network node from the north-south network flow and enhanced the network's reliability. Similarly, we have integrated our unique vRack solution as support for Neutron. This enables users to interconnect and build private hybrid infrastructures on a global, multi-datacentre level. We've also made a number of contributions to OpenStack puppet modules, for more effective, industrialised deployment of our global infrastructure. The vast scope of this approach is perfectly demonstrated by the sophisticated, bespoke infrastructures MDDV builds for its customers using OVHcloud solutions, and Edinet’s scalable, global content platform, among others.

More recently, we have doubled down on our use of OpenStack as an abstraction layer to offer even more services as part of the Public Cloud ecosystem, including Kubernetes and (soon) database-as-a-service. In fact, in May 2019, we were proud to pick up the DCS Open-source Innovation award for our ready-to-use Managed Kubernetes service. True to the open-source spirit of Kubernetes, the OVHcloud offering is based on open standards and fully compatible with the flagship container orchestration software. For example, it allows customers to continue using the original Kubernetes building block for access control (RBAC). In order to further enhance the performance of Kubernetes we are currently adding more components from OpenStack projects, such as Ironic, so that we can run Kubernetes on bare metal without a virtualisation layer.

Project Management public cloud

Keeping the cloud open

Indeed, in 2019 the question is no-longer why open source, but how? While some vendors might choose to implement adaptations to open-source tools and thus create incompatibility and lock-in issues, OVHcloud is very careful in this regard, understanding the importance of keeping the cloud open.


Driving business success

To drive business success, users must be free to adopt a multi-cloud approach, employing a combination of cloud providers and linking both their cloud and on-premises services. OVHcloud’s history with OpenStack and our Public Cloud is the perfect example of our continued commitment to this philosophy.