As some of our followers might know, the Cloud-A team spent last week in Vancouver for the OpenStack Summit. It was our first summit, and it was nice for it to be in our home country. The summit provided us with the opportunity to interact first hand with our community, listen to keynotes about the direction of our technology, input from industry leaders, and vendors about new and emerging technology in the OpenStack ecosystem. All in all, there was some very familiar messaging about how OpenStack has grown past infancy and is enterprise ready – something that we at Cloud-A have not doubted. To be perfectly honest we don’t feel that there was much announced that was in the category of groundbreaking, but still we wanted to highlight some of the themes and news from last weeks OpenStack summit in terms of future value for our customers.
OpenStack Cloud Interoperability & Federation
One of the first “big” announcements at the Summit was the launch of the OpenStack cloud interoperability and federation initiatives. The idea is to harness the power of many integrated OpenStack clouds from around the world to slowly but surely take some market share from the 800lbs gorilla that is AWS. It will be an uphill battle, as it was just announced that AWS is now 10x larger than all of its competitors. OpenStack Executive Director, Jonathan Bryce, said “We’re taking a step toward creating an OpenStack-powered planet,” insinuating that the battle will be easier together, as a network of interoperable open, agile clouds.
Part of the functionality that will enable this interoperability is federated identity across multiple OpenStack implementations. Bryce said:
Now we can link OpenStack clouds with a single source of identity, so you can expand and contract dynamically.
While fundamentally we believe in multi-cloud, we will assess the opportunity within this functionality. Over the next several months we will be making a series of announcements of new functionality and additional value that we feel will help separate us from the pack and make us more than just a “good OpenStack cloud.”
OpenStack <3’s Containers
Containers are nothing new to us at Cloud-A, in fact, much of our management layer runs on containers today, as they allow us to continuously integrate our OpenStack cloud, perform drop-in upgrades and distributed configuration. There was a lot of talk around containers last week, with even an entire day dedicated to them. Much was discussed about OpenStack Magnum, the multi-tenant Containers-as-a-Service project. Magnum will allow service providers like Cloud-A to give tenants the ability to deploy containers much like they can virtual machines. There has been a lot of talk recently about whether or not containers are a threat to OpenStack. Last week’s summit made the OpenStack Foundation’s stance on containers clear with COO Mark Collier saying:
The important thing for us as a community is to think about OpenStack as an integration engine that’s agnostic and puts users in the best position for success. Just like we didn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to compute, storage and networking, we’ll do the same with containers.
OpenStack Magnum is a project that we will keep our eyes on, and perform some initial testing. Currently, our partner Cloud 66 is our goto for containers. Cloud 66 does a phenomenal job of automating the deployment and management of applications with containers, and we look to strengthen our integration with Cloud 66’s platform.
Community App Catalog
Last week the community app catalog was announced. The app catalog is a collection of Murano packages (complete applications, in both simple and clustered configuration), Glance images (a library of preconfigured images – like the Cloud-A image library) and Heat templates (Cloud orchestration templates for creating complete stacks.) This is all an effort to simplify the deployment and usage of OpenStack by making a collection of applications available on an OpenStack cloud.
We have tested the waters with offering our own application catalog in the past, with minimal adoption. Some might argue that we early to market with our proprietary technology, dubbed Bricks, but we will continue to monitor demand from our customers and assess opportunity for integrating something like the community app catalog in Cloud-A.
Our take on things
To put it bluntly, we don’t think there was any earth shattering announcements made by the OpenStack Foundation – which is fine. There was certainly a lot to be proud of as OpenStack users and foundation members. There were some phenomenal user stories and vendor announcements that help validate OpenStack as a technology with legs. One thing we tried to do over the past week and will continue to do, is talk about OpenStack in terms of value to our customers. At the end of the day our users don’t care what underlying technology we are using, so long as it works well. There are certainly components of OpenStack as a cloud orchestration tool that helps make Cloud-A what it is today, but we are focusing our efforts on how we can take the incredible underlying technology that is OpenStack and add an amazing user experience. We feel that that pairing is a recipe for long term success.