OpenStack Stops In Cowboys Country

Dallas! More than halfway home and back into the great state of Texas after stopovers in Los Angeles and Boulder. While the smallest of our meet-ups yet, that did not deter great conversation and plenty of great questions. With no representatives from the proposed OpenStack Foundation there was a bevy of questions about the Foundation itself, along with the current state of OpenStack, and discussion around the standardization of APIs. Our audience was a broad mix including students studying cloud computing for their dissertations and enterprise executives just wanting to get a taste of what OpenStack was all about.

We kicked it off with some general Q&A. We had a group around 10 and it was clear the group we spoke to was well versed in virtualization technologies and wanted to dive right into OpenStack specific conversation. I began the session with an update about the OpenStack Foundation – from the Foundation’s creation announcement six months ago to the latest news that Red Hat and IBM have pledged their support for the project. The questions ranged from “What happens to the OpenStack code if the Foundation stops getting funding?” to once again hearing “Why would Rackspace relinquish control of the OpenStack project?” Both questions have related answers: it’s all about what is best for OpenStack. Rackspace leaders and the OpenStack community have done a stand up job of getting the Foundation’s organization in order and have set it up for success. Here are a few key points that should be known about the Foundation’s current proposed structure:

• There are multiple levels of membership
     • Individual
          • Participate on their own or as part of their paid employment — free to join
     • Platinum
          • $500,000 per year paid annually with a three-year commitment
          • Will provide operational resources to the Foundation such as staffing or development environment infrastructure
     • Gold
          • Fund an amount equal to total company revenue times .025 percent, with a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $200,000
     • Corporate
          •$25,000 per year paid annually
     • Start-Up
          • $10,000 per year paid annually

Along with financial contributions, all members will have access to OpenStack logos for commercial usage; designation of membership and a corporate logo in the Supporters section on; custom profiles detailing support of OpenStack; as well as a number of additional benefits all of which can be found on the OpenStack Governance Funding web page.

• Foundation establishment is a community process, all being done in the open:
     • Funding
          • A deeper dive into how OpenStack will be funded and how individuals and companies can contribute to the long-term success of the project

     • Mission
          • “The OpenStack Foundation is an independent body providing shared resources to help achieve the OpenStack Mission by Protecting, Empowering, and Promoting OpenStack software and the community around it, including users, developers and the entire ecosystem.”

     • Structure
          • Foundation Creation
               • What OpenStack looks like today
               • Transition
               • Approach
          • Project Governance
               • Project Technical Leads (PTL)
               • Project Policy Board -> Technical Committee
          • Corporate Governance
               • Membership
               • Board of Directors
               • Code of Conduct & Member Agreements
               • Additional Committees
          • Operations
               • Foundation Roles
               • Funding

The Foundation was the focal point of the session for sure, but we did get to dive into the state of OpenStack today and even got down and dirty with some API discussion. As I’ve echoed throughout the meet-ups on the way home from the OpenStack Design Summit & Conference, OpenStack had an entirely different feel to it this time around. The sheer number of attendees and emergence of the Deploy/Ops Track painted the picture for me. OpenStack is no longer viewed as a cool open-source project that might catch some looks; it’s now seriously being considered for production deployments. Companies are no longer just looking at OpenStack as proofs-of-concept, they are investigating how they move production workloads, what the migration path is, and most importantly when. With the Essex release, I believe we’re over the hump, and with the discussion about the Folsom release it’s clear the OpenStack community is on the right path. There is surely plenty of room to debate what “the right path” is, but the overall take away from the Design Summit for the Folsom release revolved around three key topics:

• Security
• Deployability
• High-Availability

Each of these topics had numerous sessions and candid discussion. To go along with these sessions was a very high level of involvement. More attendees were interested in signing up to help rather than just give their opinions. Probably the most encouraging outcome of the Summit was the so called “less sexy” parts of OpenStack: documentation, bug triaging and internationalization all had long lists of people signed up and raring to contribute. Seeing this level of involvement across the entire OpenStack project was truly eye-opening. Enough good things cannot be said about the OpenStack community and all those that work tirelessly to coordinate this global project including Stefano Maffulli, OpenStack community manager; Anne Gentle, OpenStack documentation czar; Theirry Carrez, OpenStack release manager; and countless others that coordinate events, contribute code and help ensure the community and the project keep on flowing with a good vibe for all participants.

We closed up the Dallas meet-up with a short discussion around the OpenStack API. Lucky for everyone, we had Glen Campbell in attendance from Rackspace to really bring the heat. Glen had a session at the Design Summit named, “API Extensions: the good, the bad, and the ugly,” so he was able to really dig deep and answer questions around API portability, extensibility and what it takes to be an industry standard. Most of the questions came from the students in attendance, and I think that speaks a lot to open-source and academia. We are seeing more and more thesis and dissertation reports based on open-source technologies and that speaks volumes to the interest in the adoption of these into the mainstream. As more and more enterprises look at alternative technologies to help move away from software and hardware lock-in, open-source technologies are one of the first places to explore. This has been evidenced with OpenStack in the cloud software stack and we have the OpenCompute Project that takes direct aim at the hardware space. It’s a great time to be in tech. Everything is moving 1,000 mph and it’s moving in the direction of progress. It’s still early in the game, so don’t think you’ve missed your chance to get involved. Established, growing and yet-to-be-announced projects are all looking for contributors, and that will allow you to put your mark, no matter how big or small, on OpenStack!

Wayne Walls is a Cloud Architect at Rackspace, where he evangelizes global cloud strategy. A tenured technology leader, Wayne has engineered complex technical solutions, delivered IT transformation plans, and implemented multiple training initiatives around cloud computing. Co-maintainer of the Rackspace Developer blog, Wayne is helping developers, engineers, and executives understand cloud technologies and how to turn that knowledge into tangible returns. He holds a B.S. of Information Systems and a B.A. of Economics from the University of Oklahoma. Follow him on Twitter at @waynewalls.


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