Businesses haven't considered the "significant labour costs" to integrate whitebox hardware and open-source software - and vendor's "easy deployment" rhetoric is to blame, says Randy Bias, EMC's technology VP.
Bias, who is on the OpenStack foundation's board of directors and founder of Cloudscaling, is a veteran of Silicon Valley with 25 years of infrastructure under his belt.
Speaking during OpenStack Silicon Valley, he blamed the majority of cloud vendors, including his own firm EMC, for peddling the myth that cloud equates to "cheap" infrastructure.
Companies may need deeper pockets than what is advertised by distributors and vendors who advocate open source infrastructure, due to the huge investments a company needs to make to ensure private cloud builds are succesful.
"We like to pretend that COTS off-the-shelf hardware and open source software just works out of the box," he told the conference.
COTS, or commercial off-the-shelf hardware is a cheaper alternative to custom, and can be bought ready-made.
However, the cost of matching hardware to an open source overlay, "is very, very high and unless you are Google or Amazon and can afford hundreds of network, compute and storage developers you shouldn't be managing COTS hardware."
Despite the fact that companies like Mirantis can "roll it out for you," businesses are becoming increasingly "allergic" to vendor-led deployments. The cost savings of cutting out the middle man, and taking a do-it-yourself approach may cost companies.
Bias also highlighted confusion over OpenStack, which is an open source answer to Amazon Web Services and virtualisation technology VMware as an obstacle to the open source framework's development.
"OpenStack is not a cheaper VMware. These solutions solve different problems today," he said.
"If you try to get OpenStack to look anything like VMware you won't get anywhere in the next five years," he warned.