OpenStack Summit Hong Kong 2013: Interoperability and collaboration for a stronger OpenStack

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To paraphrase from Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the OpenStack Developer Summit last week in Hong Kong, building clouds is no longer exciting. It’s easy. That’s somewhat of an exaggeration, of course, as clouds are still a big choice for many enterprises, but there is still a lot of truth in Mark’s sentiment. The really interesting part about the cloud now is what you actually do with it, how you integrate it with existing systems, and how powerful it can be.

OpenStack has progressed tremendously in its first few years, and Ubuntu’s goal has been to show that it is just as stable, production-ready, easy-to-deploy and manage as any other cloud infrastructure. For our part, we feel we’ve done a good job, and the numbers certainly seem to support that. More than 3,000 people from 50 countries and 480 cities attended the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, a new record for the conference, and a recent IDG Connect survey found that 84 percent of enterprises plan to make OpenStack part of their future clouds.

Clearly OpenStack has proven itself. And, now, the OpenStack community’s aim is making it work even better with more technologies, more players and more platforms to do more complex things more easily. These themes were evident from a number of influential contributors at the event and require an increased focus amongst the OpenStack community:

Global Collaboration

OpenStack’s collaborative roots were exemplified early on with the opening address by Daniel Lai, Hong Kong’s CIO, who talked about how global the initially U.S.-founded project has become. There are now developers in more than 400 cities around the world with the highest concentration of developers located in Beijing.

Focus on the Core

One of the first to directly hit on the theme of needing more collaboration, though, was Mark Shuttleworth with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” OpenStack has grown fantastically, but we do, as a community, need to ensure we can support that growth rate. OpenStack should focus on the core services and beyond that, provide a mechanism to let many additional technologies plug in, or “let a thousand flowers bloom,” as Mark eloquently put it.

HP’s Monty Taylor also called for more collaboration between all of OpenStack’s players to really continue enhancing the core structure and principle of OpenStack. As he put it, “If your amazing plug-in works but the OpenStack core doesn’t, your plug-in is sitting on a pile of mud.” A bit blunt, but it gets to the point of needing to make sure that the core benefits of OpenStack – that an open and interoperable cloud is the only cloud for the future – are upheld.

Greasing the Wheels of Interoperability

And, that theme of interoperability was at the core of one of Ubuntu’s own announcements at the Hong Kong summit: the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab, or Ubuntu OIL. Ubuntu has always been about giving companies choice, especially in the cloud. Our contributions to OpenStack so far have included new hypervisors, SDN stacks and the ability to run different workloads on multiple clouds.

We’ve also introduced Juju, which is one step up from a traditional configuration management tool and is able to distil functions into groups – we call them Charms – for rapid deployment of complex infrastructures and services.

Will all the new capabilities being added to OpenStack, Ubuntu OIL will test all of these options, and other non-OpenStack-centric technologies, to ensure Ubuntu OpenStack offers the broadest set of validated and supported technology options compatible with user deployments.

Collaboration and interoperability testing like this will help ensure OpenStack only becomes easier to use for enterprises, and, thus, more enticing to adopt.

For more information on Ubuntu OIL, or to suggest components for testing in the lab, email us at oil@ubuntu.com or visit http://www.ubuntu.com/cloud/ecosystem/ubuntu-oil

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