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How OpenStack Is Redefining Itself and Open Infrastructure

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The OpenStack Foundation is no longer interested in only its own cloud platform, but also in enabling the broader ecosystem of open infrastructure

In a session at the OpenStack Summit, Thierry Carrez, VP of Engineering at the OpenStack Foundation, outlined the steps the foundation are taking to create what he referred to as a better-defined OpenStack. The key theme of the redefinition is that OpenStack is no longer just about the OpenStack cloud platform project.

"Being project-centric makes it very isolationist and makes it difficult to work with adjacent communities," Carrez said.Thierry Carrez, VP Engineering OpenStack

For example, Carrez said OpenStack has a great CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) system that it built, but that technology was functionally invisible to others.

The other challenge comes from having a project focus where everything that is part of the OpenStack Foundation had to be OpenStack, which made it difficult for others to consume OpenStack technologies outside of an OpenStack cloud deployment.

Additionally, what has become apparent to Carrez is that while open source technologies run the world, integrating different open-sources technologies remains a challenge.

"Open source is not enough; we have to to open collaboration," Carrez said. "We need projects where anyone can contribute without any one group holding the keys to the kingdom."

"We do not want a world where all the world's infrastructure needs are provided by the proprietary public clouds," he added.

The New Approach for OpenStack

The new approach that OpenStack is now taking is to move from a project-oriented model to one that is goal oriented. In that model, rather than just building software, the OpenStack Foundation will act as an organization that can help to integrate solutions. Instead of just being focused on OpenStack, Carrez said the OpenStack Foundation is now focused on open infrastructure.

The new model starts with finding common use cases, then collaborating across communities to figure out what's needed. The next step in the model is to then build the required new technology and finally to test everything end to end.

So far, the OpenStack Foundation has placed two projects outside of the core OpenStack cloud project stack as standalone efforts: kata container and Zuul CI/CD. Carrez said those two projects are only the "most visible parts of the iceberg" as OpenStack shifts to the goal-oriented focus.

Consequences and Challenges of the Change in Direection

Re-focusing the OpenStack Foundation away from just the OpenStack cloud platform has multiple consequences. One of the high-level challenges is branding, since the new projects are not technically part of the OpenStack stack cloud platform.

Another challenge is dealing with the current bylaws of the OpenStack Foundation that are OpenStack cloud-specific currently.

Carrez said there should be no fear that the new scope for the OpenStack Foundation will mean a dilution of the efforts core principles. He emphasized the OpenStack Foundation will still have its core "4 Opens" principles of: open source, open development, open design and open community.

"OpenStack is still the central piece of the strategy," Carrez said. "This is an opportunity to focus and refine and an opportunity for OpenStack to improve."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

This article was originally published on May 21, 2018
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