At Six Years Old, OpenStack Questions Its Long-Term Viability

ANALYSIS: The future needs ideas like OpenStack, claims founder Jonathan Bryce

Two years ago, the OpenStack problems on customer lips were those of use cases, especially in the enterprise.

One year ago, OpenStack had come to stronger terms with its identity, but faced tough questions surrounding its complexity and what kinds of workloads could be best suited to the open source cloud platform.

This year, the problems have moved on again. While OpenStack it hitting upwards of 60 percent production rate, containers and the OpenStack ecosystems are merging, and it’s becoming difficult for some participants to agree on what the core principles of OpenStack should be.

Should OpenStack focus on just a few simple mantras, or can OpenStack be all things for all customers?


For founder Jonathan Bryce, the answer lies in collaboration and the future. According to Bryce, who gave a keynote at this week’s OpenStack Days Silicon Valley conference in Mountain View, OpenStack is an analogy of the methods of working that will be needed for the next 100 years.

storage“What does the future look like, and how do we get there, and what’s our role in it? It’s important for us to think about that,” he decreed.

“One of the things that hits me, the more I’m able to travel around and talk with different companies and organisations, it’s very clear that everything we do as humans for the next century is going to depend more and more on increasing capacity for computing and data processing.

“Every breakthrough, every discovery, every advance that we’re going to make is going to depend on computing power. Ultimately, as that computing power expands and grows, we have to change the way we provision it and manage it.”

OpenStack, claims Bryce, is the epitome of this, aiming to hit compute, storage and network challenges face first.

One of the major selling points of OpenStack is that it’s meant to negate vendor lock in, unlike rivals like Microsoft or Amazon Web Services.

“It’s critical too that that capacity is not locked up in a few organisations, a few governments, a few companies. So having an open, viable, powerful set of tools to enable that is extremely critical, and that is where OpenStack really comes into play,” said Bryce.

“A lot of players in this game are playing it in a winner takes all fashion. They view it as a zero-sum game, and in order for them to succeed and grow they need to be taking market share and taking business from other people. But because of the scale we’re talking about, and because of the scope of what this industry is now able to do, it’s really a positive-sum game. It’s actually an opportunity to move from this mindset of ‘versus’ to ‘and’.”

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