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OpenStack Aims To Improve Integration With Cloud Native Technologies

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWeek and contributor to TechWeek

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At OpenStack Summit in Australia, open-source cloud effort announces series of initiatives to help improve integration

The OpenStack Foundation is hosting its semi-annual Summit event in Sydney, Australia from Nov. 6 to Nov 8 highlighting use-cases and progress in the multi-stakeholder, open-source cloud infrastructure effort.  

At the first day of the event, several initiatives designed to help improve and promote integration between OpenStack and other open-source cloud efforts were announced.

Among the announcements was the Open Infrastructure Integration effort, the launch of the OpenLab testing tools program, the debut of the public cloud passport program and the formation of a financial services team.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

OpenStack Sydney

“We’re really put some focus into the strategy for the OpenStack Foundation for next five years,” Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation told eWEEK.

“We spent the last five years developing code and building a large user base, looking forward we’re listening to the challenges that users are facing to help us determine what we should be doing.”

OpenStack originally got started as a joint open-source effort between NASA and Rackspace in July 2010. Two years later in September 2012, the OpenStack Foundation was officially launched providing an open governance model that helped the cloud infrastructure technology platform grow.

While OpenStack has found success with large organizations, including telco providers and large retailers including Walmart, the overall cloud technology landscape has become increasingly complicated in recent years. Bryce said that organizations are looking to use multiple types of cloud technology and integrating all the different pieces together has been a challenge.

“In some ways, the best thing about open-source is that there is more of it than ever before,” Bryce said. “In other ways, the worst thing about open-source is that there is more of it than ever before.”

With the rapid pace of innovation across different open-source cloud technologies, Bryce said that often the integration and operations pieces are left behind. He noted that organizations don’t want to have cloud infrastructure just for its’ own sake, but rather organizations are looking to build and deliver applications and services to end-users.

Bryce said that OpenStack operators have told the OpenStack Foundation that they want to discuss and enable integration and operations across multiple disparate open-source cloud projects in an open and collaborative way.

“We’ve now landed on a strategy at the OpenStack Foundation to prove and enable integration in the open infrastructure landscape,” Bryce said. 

The OpenStack Foundation has a global community of users and has multiple ongoing efforts that help to promote and develop OpenStack. What the OpenStack Foundation is now set to do is to look beyond just the confines of the OpenStack project, to provide more focus for specific industry use-cases.

“We’re going to expand the number and type of open-source projects that we support and we’re not going to try and mash it all up into one thing called OpenStack, which had been our approach so far,” Bryce said. 

OpenStack Logo

Bryce noted that OpenStack has always invested in testing, though to date that testing has been largely limited to just testing OpenStack itself. The OpenStack Foundation is now expanding its efforts to test the integration between OpenStack and other open-source cloud components with the OpenLab effort. OpenLab will enable testing for common deployment scenarios including CloudFoundry, Mesos and Kubernetes.

“What we have realized this year is that our users and our community are already a lot bigger than just OpenStack clouds doing virtualization,” Bryce said. “As a foundation, there are a lot of ways we can support them a lot better,  so they can be a lot more effective.”

Big Tent

OpenStack has tried in the past to provide a broader set of capabilities to help address different needs. Among the efforts was one known as the “Big Tent” which first debuted in May 2015 as a new way to enable a more diverse set of projects to be part of OpenStack.

Bryce emphasized that the Big Tent idea was somewhat successful, but he acknowledged that it didn’t have all the pieces that were needed to meet user requirements.

“The goal of Big Tent was to drive innovation inside of the OpenStack community as our community had grown beyond just doing virtual machine and block storage,” Bryce said. “What we have come to learn from our users is that innovation without the operations and integration focus, doesn’t get the job done.”

Integration with software is an area where vendors take an active role and often are able to generate revenue from professional services activities. At OpenStack, the goal is to bring OpenStack vendors and operators together to help collaborate in open way about best practices for integration.

“The lines are blurring between the vendor side and the user-side,” Mark Collier, Chief Operating Officer at the OpenStack Foundation told eWEEK

For example, Collier noted that with OpenLab initiative there are multiple vendors involved including Huawei and Intel, additionally there are also operators involved including Open Telekom Cloud and Vexxhost.

Looking at the broader community of OpenStack community participation, Collier noted that AT&T for example is running critical workloads representing significant revenue on OpenStack. AT&T is not an OpenStack vendor, but they are very active in OpenStack development, contributing code to the upstream project.

“There is a close collaboration now in the OpenStack community with vendors and operators,” Collier said.

Originally published on eWeek