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Alex Polvi, CEO, CoreOS
Alex Polvi, CEO, CoreOS

Amazon Web Services achieved critical and commercial success by changing the way companies procure infrastructure for their critical applications, but CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi thinks a backlash is coming.

CoreOS provides a managed-Kubernetes product called Tectonic for companies that don’t have the interest or skills in managing their own Kubernetes container-orchestration deployment. Ahead of CoreOS Fest Wednesday, where the company is expected to show off new features for Tectonic, Polvi took stock of the cloud infrastructure computing world in 2017 — dominated by AWS — and predicted that things are about to change.

“We’re at this precipice of Amazon getting too embedded and making too much money,” Polvi said. “You’ll see the open-source community build around it” with products designed to make it easier to move between cloud providers, he said.

Technology trends tend to ebb and flow between centralized and de-centralized markets and service providers. Cloud computing was originally seen as a way to break free of the heavy licensing restrictions and technical debt of big installed software packages, but cloud users are starting to realize they might be just as locked into their cloud providers’ services as they were locked into their Oracle databases.

“It’s very familiar to these previous iterations where we end up with a very proprietary software vendor,” Polvi said.

As founder and CEO of a startup built to serve multicloud and hybrid cloud organizations, Polvi has obvious reasons to feed this narrative. CoreOS, based in San Francisco, develops open-source components for cloud computing and is making money off Tectonic, which is an enhanced version of Kubernetes with commercial support.

But he’s not the first person to worry about the promise of cloud computing — truly portable applications — losing out to the power of revenue.

AWS and other cloud providers argue that they are simply giving their customers advanced features and new capabilities to improve the performance and stability of their workloads. Even if those customers have to do a lot of custom work to take advantage of those features, cloud providers (and a lot of other non-vendor folks, to be fair) believe in the end they’re still better off embracing a single cloud than trying to manage the whole thing themselves on expensive hardware or complex multicloud arrangements.

But the days of being able to ask for discounts from a friendly AWS rep are over, said Polvi (an AWS customer), and that might start to motivate other approaches when the CFO sees the infrastructure bill.

The latest release of Tectonic, version 1.6.4, continues to put Kubernetes at the center of a multicloud strategy. The new version improves support for the etcd open-source project and updates the version of Kubernetes that comes with Tectonic to the current one, also labeled 1.6.4.

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