The cloud's growing popularity has enabled service providers to push the technology further in terms of performance and cost efficiency, which have long been key value propositions in the IT world. However, as customers' expectations become more demanding, vendors will need to find other areas to focus on. One such improvement is the elimination of vendor lock-in and the high degree of customization afforded by open clouds.

While the cloud has played a transformative role in shaping business technology, open source clouds may represent an even greater evolution than the development of virtualization, according to The Var Guy contributor Christopher Tozzi.

"While it can be tempting to liken OpenStack to, say, VMware (VMW) virtualization, which radically reshaped the computing industry of its time, OpenStack is very different in the key respect of being completely open source, and therefore more easily integrated with third-party platforms," Tozzi wrote. "That characteristic, even more than the usability enhancements that the OpenStack community can look forward to for 2014, will likely assure OpenStack's success over the long term."

Tozzi highlighted comments from Jonathan Lacour and Simon Anderson of DreamHost. The two industry experts noted that OpenStack's future development will likely place an emphasis on usability. For instance, a unified command-line interface would make it easier to manage OpenStack cloud infrastructure.

Writing for Wired, PayPal CTO James Barrese also recently commented on the rise of open clouds. He noted that 20 percent of his company's IT infrastructure is already built on the platform and predicted that it will benefit from greater adoption in enterprise environments. 

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