Open-source community has an integration problem: OpenStack

OpenStack has unveiled plans to document cross-project use cases and 'collaborate across communities' in a bid to foster new technologies and end-to-end testing.

At the OpenStack Sydney Summit, community leaders announced a new plan to overcome challenges in integrating and operating open-source technologies to solve real-world problems.

Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, said on Monday the open source community hasn't historically been good at integration, and highlighted that innovation alone isn't enough to make it work.

"We're great at innovating, and we're great at creating new technology for specific uses, but in reality, users don't need a virtual machine, they don't need a container, a network -- those are tools they use to build services that route phone calls like AT&T, or move money like China UnionPay, or help prevent identity theft like at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia," Bryce said.

"Overall, what we're trying to do is make better decisions, help our businesses run better. That's not just about technology; that's about putting technology into production in the real world and solve problems."

According to Bryce, OpenStack fails its user base if it simply delivers innovation without integration.

"Our user base sees all of this innovation that's happening around us as amazing, and they want to take advantage of it, but we have an integration problem in the open-source community," he added. "This is preventing users from being able to capture the value from innovative projects."

As a result, Bryce said it is something OpenStack has been thinking about, in particular what its role is in fixing the situation.

The OpenStack Foundation and community revealed on Monday they are investing financial and technical resources as part of a strategy to address integration of OpenStack and relevant open-source technologies.

The strategy will see the documenting of cross-project use cases for others to utilise, and in a bid to facilitate partnerships, the OpenStack Foundation will be collaborating across communities, including joint events, testing, and upstream contributions to adjacent projects, Bryce explained.

It will also be fostering new projects, as well as coordinating the end-to-end testing of these projects.

"Collaboration across foundations and communities is essential for open source to reach its full potential," Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, added. "We need to support each other and make sure open technologies work well together in order to build user and ecosystem value around these shared assets."

Also on Monday, the OpenStack Foundation and community announced several initiatives to support its integration strategy, including OpenLab, the Public Cloud Passport Program, and the Financial Services Team.

OpenLab is a community-led program to test and improve support for a number of software development kits, as well as platforms like Kubernetes, Terraform, and Cloud Foundry on OpenStack.

The OpenStack Foundation said the goal is to improve the usability, reliability, and resiliency of tools and applications for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Huawei and Intel are both contributing full-time contributor resources and infrastructure to the project at its launch, and Open Telekom Cloud and Vexxhost are providing OpenStack-powered public cloud infrastructure for testing.

The new Public Cloud Passport Program is a joint effort from the OpenStack Public Cloud working group to help prospective users quickly experience the "freedom, performance, and interoperability" of open source infrastructure, Bryce explained.

The first step is an aggregation of free trial programs from participating OpenStack-powered public clouds, including Catalyst, City Network, Elastx, Home at Cloud, Memset, OVH, Scale Up Tech, Telefonica, UKCloud, and Vexxhost.

China UnionPay also announced the formation of a new community team aimed at identifying and then filling the gaps for OpenStack adoption in the financial services industry.

A statement from the OpenStack Foundation explained that China UnionPay is looking to work with with global financial institutions to help document successful use cases, identify gaps, and develop reference architectures for specific technologies, such as an SDN reference architecture for financial networks.

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