Is Cinder’s Google driver the light at the end of the hybrid cloud tunnel?

On its face, it  seems simple. The newest version of OpenStack, Mitaka, includes a Cinder driver that enables users to easily backup data to Google Cloud Storage. Of course Cinder includes a lot of drivers. No big deal, right?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

This isn’t a driver somebody hacked together and dropped into the repo.  This is a driver that Google itself not only contributed, but crowed about in a blog post explaining that the functionality was available for all levels of Google Cloud Storage, including its low-cost, not-quite-so-highly-available Nearline service.

So why is this a big deal?  It’s a big deal because it appears to be the next step in Google’s embrace of OpenStack not just as a technology, but as a hybrid cloud option.  When the search giant joined the OpenStack Foundation last year, most of the attention was on the company’s use of Kubernetes for containers, and what the implications were for container technologies in OpenStack. The assumption in some corners (including this one) was that Google was simply trying to make sure that OpenStack’s version of containers meshed with its own.

Now it seems that Google, which doesn’t have much of a presence in the private cloud market, is looking at creating ways for hybrid cloud environments to span the gap between its public cloud service and the private clouds that sit inside enterprises — which are, increasingly, based on OpenStack.  True, this driver is only for backups, but the upcoming Murano Kubernetes application is also capable of creating container clusters that span both OpenStack and Google Container Engine.

And as Maria Deutscher at SiliconAngle pointed out, where one of the Big Three public clouds goes, the other two (AWS and Azure, in this case) seem to try to follow.  So far both have been loathe to do much with OpenStack, as though ignoring it will make it go away.

It remains to be seen if Google’s lead will make them rethink that strategy.

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