This is my first live blogging that I have attempted here at VElemental. Bare with me as I figure out the right conciseness or verbosity moving forward. For now I have compiled my notes for the first half of the day into the following.
The first section of the day was filled with lots of different speakers and points of view. Please note that the ideas below are not my own but are entertaining, enlightening, and likely controversial. Welcome to the OpenStack Keynote sponsored by Mirantis!
The day started with Alex Freedland (Chairman and Cofounder – Member OpenStack Foundation) giving a general overview of OpenStack in the industry.
Alex states that there has been tremendous qualitative change over four years and that OpenStack is no longer needing to prove itself and that it is the winner in the open cloud game. But as it enters the 2.0 phase, there are questions to answer. Specifically, what will it look like, who will be there, and how will it be used? Here are some of the upcoming trends mentioned.
– Landscape changing
– Companies committing at massive scale
– Mergers and M&A deals
– Proven usage patterns – better agility and management
He continues to briefly touch on the Software Defined Economy. This he terms is the nature of industries managing change faster enabled by the innovation factory that OpenStack represents. This is where it is a channel to get to market and the consumer has the choice of best innovator. Open Cloud success in this would be through community growth, different business models, and by leveraging agility and innovation at scale. The finishing thought is around community and success through the community similar to the methods of Linux, but it took time.
Next up was Martin Fink – EVP and CTO HP and Marten Mickos – CEO Eucalyptus
Martin kicked off the discussion speaking about a year in for Helion and Open Source, HP’s cloud platform. He focused on an internal concept called “student body left” where HP decided last year to redirect all cloud resources towards OpenStack. The goal was to align all BUs and cloud based services for internal and external customers, Public/Private consumption towards a common platform and strategy. He highlighted this strategy with Stackalytics reports for the Juno release and HP dramatically changing its position.
He continued to then speak about goals in embracing open source at HP. His focus was to make sure everything was done in the true spirit of open source, delivering code close to and tied to the trunks of projects all following the community process. He recognized that companies like HP being involved in open source meant that they needed to align with competitors at times and become close friends for the benefit of the project and customers (IBM as example).
Relating to what HP will be releasing, he mentioned a commercial OpenStack distro, developer platform, Helion Network (sounded like public cloud partners) to deliver cloud anywhere in the world. He concluded this thought stating that it wasn’t just a piece of software they are working towards but an experience, the whole stack including distro, hardware, all delivered across models (on premise, public cloud, cloud managed by HP, virtual private cloud managed by HP).
Martin concluded in introducing Marten as an example of HP brining in open source talent, and know-how in order to grow the capabilities and continue the open source mantra.
Marten as not quite an employee of HP yet, started by highlighting what he could speak about was focused on Eucalyptus. The focus there is to take the success of AWS APIs and design patterns (open, simple, product focused) into the OpenStack framework, and be easy to install and use– essentially where nimble meets massive. He wants a full victory where the consumers take advantage of the project and the developers get credit.
As he continued his presentation he got more to the open source theme. His focus was about open source being the right avenue since it tends to win in the long run, but the question left was around how to get there. Currently there are plenty of open source benefits and challenges. He said that at this point that people don’t tend to dislike OpenStack, they are actually saying that they would love to love OpenStack but currently they can’t because of this or that. He continued to say that a challenge is central authority around the ability to say no and someone who listens to users.
If he had a choice it sounded like the future would be to harden central functionality, and listen to the voice of the customers. He commented that the HP team was in a good position for success due to their experience and history in tight design and serious systems engineering. He concluded by stating the conceptual goal for HP and Eucalyptus. In his view, consumers should be able to move workloads back and forth in among cloud deployments. With Eucalyptus, HP should be in a good position to deliver whole clouds and achieve it with the web era.. what was done with web apps and LAMP stack in now happening with the cloud era and OpenStack.
Ken Ross – Brocade
Brocade is working on contributions and plugins. Their visibility to the demand for OpenStack was reviewed briefly and in the North East US there were around 50 customers doing testing and 12 in production. Ken believes that 2015/2016 will be where we see a sea of change around customers taking advantage of OpenStack for things like Network Function Virtualization and the orchestration of networking.
Ken concluded that a major problem with OpenStack networking currently and in the future related to the lack of understanding of how networking pieces and options fit today and where they are going to fit in the future. Without these things defined moving forward will be difficult.
Following this was Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director Openstack Foundation.
Jonathan focused on some higher level concepts which he saw as developing trends across tech, finance, and other industries. He uses the idea of the Software Defined Economy to express the idea that every company is competing with a startup in one way, shape, or form. This startup tends to move faster and gets products and services in front of customers faster. In the SDE, change tends to be easy, things move quickly, decisions are temporal, and changes are much easier to make in an ongoing basis. This all contributes to choice.
He goes on to describe the “passive consumption” model of today where IT buys hardware and solutions on multi-year product cycles and typically based around what preferred vendors sell. The new way where “I want what I want” is based on releasing things early and often and likely straight to production. In this case if IT won’t give them what they want then they’ll find a way of getting it. The problem here is that you can’t stop this from happening, so IT really needs to meet the needs that users are asking for.
The general trend that he views is that technology decisions are moving out to the edge of a business. This means that users are taking force fed technology, and the “central planning” committee that has made decisions prior is now dead.
The successful company today is building frameworks and platforms for their organizations to build environments they want their users consuming from. Jonathan finished with an important point focusing on the idea that in the recent computer evolution, IT has driven the virtualization phase due to their own benefits, and the cloud phase is now being driven by the edges of the business where benefit is being reaped by the consumer.
He finished by pointing to some existing areas to look at real world feedback, superuser.openstack.org.
Martin Casado – CTO of Networking VMware, was the next speaker with a very compelling dicussion around driving policy into OpenStack.
The general problem that Martin outlines is around how there are business needs, limits, requirements, or considerations that can be expressed in our English language by non-technical people to dictate how the business works. However, in order to translate those to technical world there must currently be humans involved. He makes an important point that where we are currently, based on the maturity of technology, it is time to stop talking about policy and do it with OpenStack.
He goes on to discuss how there are a few main problems that must be dealt with in getting to policy management. He has ran into these problems many times in converting the English version to Computer Science version. This structure typically involved converting it to a declarative language, compiling it, then pointing it at systems. The problems he highlights are relative to the compilers. These compilers have had to deal with
– Device Canonicalization or Heterogeneous Hardware – having all devices look the same which came with challenges in other areas like rolling out updates, and common functionality
– Distributed State Management – managing state and a distributed transactionally complete system along with making it scalable
– Topology Independence – this is the need to solve network virtualization problem which would require mapping and be built for scale and allowing convergence quickly
He believes the time is right now since we are in a new era with solutions to existing problems.
– OpenStack gives abstractions (canonicalization)
– Cloud Management Systems – handles distributed state
These changes have allowed for having a policy compiler that leverages high level abstractions already.
So what does Policy look like today? In each silo it tends to look like datalog or database tables where each row represents an entity. A single layer is then created by joining tables together.
Finishing the talk, Martin talks about the Congress project that he is involved in. He states that the focus on Congress will be to stop thinking about the details in each silo, and have a DSL to define the entire system using a unified policy layer. Declaration for things like PCI should be allowed to be enforced globally at that point.
Following Martin was Randy Bias – Founder and CEO CloudScaling discussing some dirty laundry for OpenStack. Randy makes a living by delivering OpenStack as production grade to customers.
Randy states the situation of OpenStack today and in the future. He sees a lot of complication moving forward and growing programs from the number today to possibly 3x in the future with the current structure.
The problem he focuses on in his talk is that OpenStack does not currently have a unifying vision or product strategy. With the growth in programs, OpenStack’s more consistent mission starts to be degraded and less meaning around OpenStack occurs.
He then discusses the internals of OpenStack with the board responsible for guidance as in a normal business and the technical committee ensuring releases happen on time. He believes that each program team tends to have their own view of what OpenStack is. This leads him to say that there doesn’t need to be a dictator, but there does need to be product leadership. He uses AWS as an example of success where they have small architecture review boards focusing on feature reviews and a team of product managers per product line.
Randy concludes by saying that there are many paths forward but all paths require creating ownership and a failure to fix it now may result in insurmountable challenges.
Adrian Ionel – CEO Mirantis was next up. It sounded like he was a late add to the agenda based on the consolidation of Eucalyptus and HP. His presentation is about the state of OpenStack and where it needs to go to be successful in 2016.
He begins his presentation with a datapoint from Google Trend where he shows the popularity of OpenStack vs EC2 becoming close. He also shows the job trends where OpenStack and EC2 tend to the highest among cloud topics.
Apparently internally at Mirantis they are getting 4x the customers from past year and 100x from the past few years at a rate of about 2 new customers per week. Adrian still feels they are in the early days in terms of this growth.
In terms of adoption, he feels that since companies are doing pilot projects it does not yet equal massive workloads. He feels that to looking at adoption is not a good indicator, and that the real metric should be based on workloads and developer adoption.
He continues to AWS in the top right of Gartner’s quadrant all by themselves, with all other cloud players hovering towards the center. In terms of adoption, Amazon is worth around 6 billion this year and other cloud players aren’t even scratching this number combined. A good example that he gave of a health provider that is showing heavy growth is Digital Ocean, going from 3000th to 4th largest hosting company in a few years (Netcraft). He feels this is largely due to developers liking and adopting the API.
Adrian then throws out the idea that developers always win in the end. He feels this way because developers create the future, and solve real problems. Essentially the platform with the most enthusiastic developers ends up winning. A great example of this is Docker with 20 million downloads in the past 4 months. It as well is higher in Analytics terms that virtualization topics.
The last section of his talk focuses on what can be done. “Is OpenStack in danger of do-it-yourself deadenders?” Are people more interested in control than value add? Or is it going to be android of cloud?
The general developer does not care about things below or around the application like monitoring software, storage, network, or the hypervisor. They care about API quality and ease of use, feature velocity (not about OpenStack plumbing), and portability (devs want to write things once). Is OpenStack too intrinsic and poorly focused? Are infrastructure vendors moving focus away from critical areas?
In conclusion, he believes that there are some tangible things that can be done.
– Focus on API (awesome, well documented, easy to use, consistent, backwards compatible)
– Invest in ease of use vs flexible plumbing (could have too many options)
– Don’t move up stack partner instead (LB, DBaaS, etc)
– Don’t copy AWS, aim to be open and best
– Reshape upstream engineering to foster open competition inside OpenStack projects (engineering come up with solutions and compete while staying in framework and let market forces choose) vs central planning
– Enable workload mobility to other platforms
– Take a look at other successful platforms and engineer for that
Next up is the first panel session. This was my least favorite of the three for the Keynote. The panel included Gary Chen – IDC, Boris Rensky – OpenStack/Mirantis, Steve Wilson – Citrix – CloudStack, and Marten Mickos – Eucalyptus – Helion
Is it a winner take all in open source?
Sure there are examples of this such as Linux itself. However other things like MySQL and Postgres shows there can be multiple winners.
One of the concepts discussed was that OpenStack should be seen as the glue for heterogeneous datacenter through a consistent API. The opportunity and competition is for one standard set of open source cloud APIs. The panel tended to disagree here among declaring OpenStack the defacto winner where it is still early in terms of adoption and is very small compared to adoption of other clouds. A good example was given around thinking of the cloud APIs as programming languages. They’ve been around for a while but do we have one now?
Another point that was brought up was around the health of competition. If done right it can be good, but if you focus on your competition then you end up becoming like your competition (why Linux didn’t focus on Microsoft).
There tends to also be competition beyond things like CloudStack (most active Apache project) with internal DIY initiatives that organizations aren’t aware of.
It possibly is too early in the maturity curve to even say that competition is happening now. The Amazon/CloudStack battles could be coming further out.
The panel finished by discussing some personal housekeeping.
– Mirantis – largest pure player openstack vendors, so build on core differntation of openstack
– Cloudstack – easy to setup, easy to use, works at scale. Citrix will continue to contribute to ClouStack and OpenStack through networking/hypervisor. Also needs focus on reliable delivery mechanisms for applications
– HP – Can provide end to end solution and does this with deep infrastructure skill. They have bet completely on open source in infrastructure, and believe in the power of Hybrid Clouds and the meaning of AWS design patterns in cloud
Following this is Bill Franklin – VP OpenStack and Technology Enablement – HP Cloud. He discusses HP’s contribution to OpenStack and it’s belief in one community. He made an important point in the beginning to ensure that we called attention to what HP terms “OpenStack roadies”, or the teams that operate the infrastructure behind the developers at companies like (HP, RackSpace, RedHat).
Here are some of the notable callouts for contribution.
– VMware for ESX support, ephemeral PKI endpoints for cross component communication, live migration
– Nova – extendable resource tracker, compute capacity vs cpu slots
– Neutron – distributed virtual routing (DVR)
– Heat, Tripolo, Ironic – chunking and the ability to share metadata
– Graffiti – Intel and HP project for systems admins to help collaborate on metadata across Horizon and Glance
– Designate – DNS as a Service which was moved to incubated stage
– Ironic – landed as entry driver in Nova
– Cinder – 3Par integration and things that you want to do exposed through Horizon sucg as upload to image, quality of service specs through to Horizon, resetting state for snapshots and volumes
After this begins another panel session lead by Chris Kemp of Nebula titled “If OpenStack is so awesome why doesn’t anyone use it”. Panelists include Peter Foulkes – 451 Research – Analyst, Jo Maitland – Google – Public Cloud, Alessandro Perilli – RedHat – Private Cloud
The first question is around making sense of the moves in the industry. Peter answers this one by stating that Enterprises tend to move slowly. He believes that companies are currently locked into VMware, and OpenStack represents a viable solution that is now coming from behind. He targets the market that VMware currently as a large market that will be open for competition among vendors soon. This should present “blood, mergers, and acquisitions”. The successful organizations will be embracing OpenStack and consolidating behind platform strategies. The success here will also be around hiring the right key people and betting on the technologies.
The next question posed is based on why adoption is not happening. There seems to have been a massive gap between what OpenStack was supposed to do and what it does. A lot of customers haven’t had the right impression that is probably the communities fault. The typical interested person does not understand at the outset that OpenStack is built for Scale-Out applications and not Scale-Up applications as found in the Enterprise.
This isn’t however a great conversation to have in this way. A way to discuss this without scaring people away is to speak of a phased approach. OpenStack can be additive where you continue to leverage virtualization and IaaS technologies together. But then you need something that glues these environments together.
The adoption problem tends to be based on how easy it is to consume. A good example of success are technologies like Docker for greenfield help get enterprises on board. A failed promise from OpenStack is workload portability. Containers is the right way where it is lightweight, and super efficient.
Chris steps into a comparison of OpenStack where we are building a new kind of computer, loosely coupled that take space of warehouse. OpenStack tends to be the leading candidate for this mission.
So what are the key features that would increase adoption? OpenStack needs to stop focusing on improving the foundation and focusing on things that it can do, ie. installer and storage. It needs to help manage the life cycle of whats inside of OpenStack. It also needs more layers such as security, and compliance.
If you were Bezos pulling up from the industry in 10 years what would you see? Public Cloud players are bigger.. organizations aren’t in the infrastructure business so they will be less in it in the future.
I think a very interesting final point here was around where Amazon and Google could be contributing to OpenStack. The point was made that they would be the ones interested in building a bridge to cloud to absorb any Private Cloud deployments in the Public Cloud seamlessly.
And finally we get to the last panel! Here we had Jonathan Donaldson – Intel – GM Software Defined Infrastructure, Jonathan Bryce – OpenStack Foundation, Brian Gentile – Tibco Jaspersoft,
and Neati Shalom – CTO Founder – Gigaspaces – Moved product from proprietary to open source.
The panel begins with a question to Jonathan around what business case Intel has for open source. He responded in stating that Intel is looking to ensure that customers in all aspects from the direct to the indirect consumer of their products is exposed to Intel goodness.
The following question asked what drivers there are taking open source from small to large groups or building communities.
– Needs to solve a business problem or large need
– Has a variety of methods of contribution
– Lots of ways to participate
A couple of good examples are NoSQL and Docker. NoSQL succeeded by entering a proprietary space and delivered technology that solved problems in a cheaper way. In this the demand drove it with things like MongoDB and Cassandra. Docker is an example of something small that grew hugely in 6 months form disruptive phase to commodity.
Jonathan also mentioned here that common problems tend to breed community. And when approaching this, you can’t do it from within vendor lines, it must be done with the problem in mind in order to foster mass adoption and acceleration.
What is the draw and outlets for building successful business models on OpenStack?
A main reason is that it is allowing entry in space that wasn’t possible before. It also represents a business model that doesn’t impede innovation. Open source is driving innovation at faster paces. A good example of this is that we used to pay for something even if it was shelfware. Now with open source you are paying for things that know are valuable. As a whole it seems to have forced the industry to generate more value.
The panel finished with a few comments about the health of OpenStack. THe eco-system should counter balance leadership. Currently there are too many companies arguing for equal right.