The Rackspace open source cloud computing project was, ironically, hampered from its earliest days but the sheer number of vendors who were jumping into the initiative. With every man and his dog doing their own flavor of OpenStack, customers and prospects had no real clarity about how these different solutions would work together. Since one of the value propositions of OpenStack was to enable customers to use multiple clouds with a degree of interoperability, this was a real issue.
Being announced today at the OpenStack Summit (disclosure, the OpenStack Foundation covered my travel and expenses to attend the summit) is a series of initiatives that aims to resolve this difficulties. Firstly, OpenStack is announcing a series of interoperability tests that ensure different vendors’ versions fo the core pieces of OpenStack will interoperate. At launch, some vendors have passed the test including HP, IBM IBM, Mirantis, Red Hat Red Hat, SUSE, SwiftStack, Ubuntu, and VMware – but more should be on the way. The certification, which includes an “OpenStack Powered” brand, will be available for all uses of OpenStack – public cloud, hosted private cloud, distributions and appliances.
Another announcement that will really help organizations gain value from an interoperable platform is OpenStack’s new distributed identity offering. The project aims to enable users to use their login from their “home” OpenStack cloud to spin up instances on other clouds as well. It’s a logical offering but, until now, OpenStack cloud would only accept identity from third-party services. This ability to federate clouds is hugely valuable for customers but somewhat difficult for vendors. After all, despite being an open source project, all the individual vendors want to create their own value propositions and keep customers on their platforms – general federation limits that.
That said, vendors have, if only because of necessity, already supported federated identity – signed up to date are Cisco, DreamHost, EasyStack, HP, IBM, Internap, Mirantis, Suse, Rackspace, Ubuntu, Vexxhost and a sprinkling of others. Talking up the news, OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said today that:
OpenStack cloud providers are delivering on the promise of a global network of clouds that app developers can leverage depending on their needs. Today, the OpenStack community is putting app developers in the driver’s seat, giving them the power to choose the price, performance and geography that best suit the needs of their apps, matching workloads to the best resources. No other cloud platform promises what OpenStack can deliver
OpenStack has to find a general reason for being. Part of the justification for its existence has historically been based around the ability to federate and interoperate. With this news coming out of Vancouver today, we start to see that aspiration become real. That, along with the news that half of all OpenStack workloads in a recent survey are classed as production, shows promise.
OpenStack has traditionally been seen as only being used for development and test. The federation news, along with the usage stats, show that is, and will continue to, change.
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