OpenStack Sydney: Community Raises a Call to Action for Improved Integration with Non-OpenStack Technologies

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • The latest OpenStack Summit highlighted the need to improve integration between OpenStack and external technologies for managing containers and edge IT environments.
  • The November Summit also saw a change in the language that’s used to define OpenStack development initiatives, to focus less on projects and more on use cases such as containers and edge infrastructure.

News stemming from the November 2017 OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia, reflected the maturity of the OpenStack platform and the stability of its core technologies: Nova for virtual machines, Swift for object storage, Cinder for block storage and Neutron for SDN. However, the Summit discussions also reflected an acknowledgement of the limits of OpenStack and the need to ensure the stack’s integration with a host of additional technologies – including technologies for managing applications and containers and those that support the successful operation of edge IT environments.

Several new initiatives by the OpenStack Foundation and community were unveiled, targeting better integration of OpenStack with other open source technologies, including Ansible, Ceph, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. The move to support better integration of OpenStack with these technologies is largely a response to increased use among OpenStack consumers. Ultimately, collaboration and interoperability are essential if users are going to unlock the full potential of their open source investments.

Specific initiatives to support the integration of OpenStack with relevant open source technologies include: (i) documenting cross-project use cases; (ii) collaborating across communities, including joint events and upstream contributions to other open source projects; (iii) fostering new projects at the OpenStack Foundation; and (iv) coordinating end-to-end testing across projects.

Several new programs will back these initiatives and support new OpenStack deployments. They include OpenLab, a community-led program for testing and enhancing support for the most popular software development kits and platforms like Kubernetes, Terraform and Cloud Foundry on OpenStack.

A second new program, the Public Cloud Passport Program, is a collaborative effort by the OpenStack Public Cloud working group that will provide prospective users with access to free trials of the OpenStack infrastructure. Participating OpenStack-based public cloud operators will include Spain’s Telefónica, France’s OVH and Sweden’s City Network.

A third new program announced at the Sydney Summit is the OpenStack Community Financial Services Team. Founded by China UnionPay, the new Community Financial Services Team will look for ways of collaborating with global financial institutions to help them document successful use cases, identify gaps and develop reference architectures for specific technologies.

The Sydney Summit also saw a change in the language that’s used to define OpenStack development initiatives: in the future, there will be less emphasis on projects and more focus on the actual use cases where individual OpenStack technologies are collectively applied. The OpenStack Foundation has identified four core use cases for initial prioritization: (i) data center cloud infrastructure; (ii) containers; (iii) edge environments; and (iv) continuous integration and continuous development. Support for these use cases is already underway, with initiatives such as OpenDev – an event hosted by the OpenStack Foundation and programmed by AT&T, Ericsson, Inmarsat, Verizon and Walmart – exploring how multiple open source technologies can be combined at the network edge.

The new emphasis on OpenStack use cases is a welcome development with positive implications for the platform’s future adoption. Specifically, it should help to provide enterprise IT decision makers with more tangible illustrations of how OpenStack can improve their business. Inevitably, other OpenStack technology use cases will follow suit including, for example, those dedicated to machine learning and artificial intelligence. For now, however, the OpenStack community needs to build significant momentum with the new initiatives and programs announced in Sydney if it expects to continue advancing cloud adoption before the Vancouver Summit in May 2018.

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