Unfortunately, visa issues prevented me from attending the OpenStack summit in Vancouver last week — despite submitting my application to the Canadian embassy in Beijing 40 days in advance! However after following extensive online discussions of the event and discussing it with vendors and peers, I would say that OpenStack is moving to a new phase, for two reasons:

  • The rise of containers is laying the foundation for the next level of enterprise readiness. Docker’s container technology has become a major factor in the evolution of OpenStack components. Docker drivers have been implemented for the key components of Nova and Heat for extended computing and orchestration capabilities, respectively. The Magnum project aiming at container services allows OpenStack to create clusters with Kubernetes (k8s) by Google and Swarm by Docker.com. The Murano project contributed by Mirantis aiming at application catalog services is also integrated with k8s.

Although k8s and Swarm have different feature coverage, Magnum could leverage either of them to turn a pool of Docker hosts into a single, virtual host; scale it on demand; and manage the workload scheduling within the cluster accordingly. Murano, on the other hand, could enable OpenStack to publish a visual application catalog of cloud-ready applications and deploy it to containers of k8s. Therefore, OpenStack powered by container technology will add another level of flexibility for enterprises creating a cloud transformation strategy.

  • The focus on user experience will eliminate open source lock-in concerns.I use the term “open source lock-in” to refer to the following scenario: Although different vendors all claim that they base their commercial distributions on the same popular open source software, organizations adopting these solutions still won’t be able to interoperate due to the unauthorized, unstandardized customization in their implementations. Neither will they be able to achieve a seamless experience due to the lack of authentication federation in between.

OpenStack ran into a similar situation, and the foundation has now launched two initiatives to overcome it. First, it announced the rollout of interoperability protocols and testing to ensure that OpenStack distributions work successfully with one another. The first 15 companies passing the test include HP, IBM, Rackspace, Red Hat, and VMware; the only Chinese company to do so was UnitedStack. Second, it announced a pioneering group of 32 OpenStack solution providers to support the new federated identity feature available in the Kilo release; local vendors EasyStack and UnitedStack are among them.

What’s your take on OpenStack’s progress? Which of its commercial solutions will you adopt — or are you going to build one yourself? You can also refer to Lauren's report for other Forrester's quick take about this event.