OpenStack's new testing regime aims to end interoperability woes

Along with backing for the new federated identity feature in the Kilo release, OpenStack has lifted the lid on new tests for all existing and would-be OpenStack products.

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COO Mark Collier: People need to know OpenStack is interoperable with other clouds. Image: OpenStack Foundation
Open-source cloud project OpenStack has stepped up efforts to achieve its goal of widespread adoption with a new mandatory testing regime to ensure interoperability between components.

It has also unveiled backing from 32 OpenStack ecosystem companies for the new federated identity feature in the OpenStack Kilo release.

The firms, which include Cisco, HP, IBM, Mirantis, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu, have committed to support the feature by the end of the year. Identity federation enables users to employ a single set of credentials to access multiple public clouds as well internal ones.

The new interoperability testing requirements, which cover public clouds, hosted private clouds, distributions and appliances, are designed to ensure that all OpenStack products and services have the same fundamental functionality and compatibility.

Testing is conducted using an open-source set of software in coordination with the OpenStack Foundation, which validates the results.

"It gets us to the whole goal of all this, which is to provide assurance to people who are maybe not as close to OpenStack as we are - they just want to take it and put it to use. They want to know that when they do that, it's going to work in a way that's interoperable with other clouds," OpenStack Foundation chief operating officer Mark Collier said.

"So, for example, if you go off and build a private cloud you may very well want to tie it back into a public cloud in the future in some sort of hybrid scenario, and [these tests] will help ensure you make an informed decision."

Collier said the new testing regime will help the OpenStack ecosystem reach a new level where people who have written a tool will be able to run it against any OpenStack cloud. The new measures will have a beneficial effect on two audiences.

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Executive director Jonathan Bryce: We're now launching the enforcement and the requirements. Image: OpenStack Foundation
"One is if you're building a cloud, you now have more assurance that the cloud you're building is going to operate the way you expect and you'll have choices today and in the future that aren't going to lock you into to one particular flavour because they're all interoperable," he said.

"The second and maybe even more important one is that the application ecosystem that wants to build tools and applications on top of OpenStack will have a much easier time of it, because they'll know there's a consistent target. If they write a piece of software, they know if it works with OpenStack. They don't have to have a lot of caveats, 'Well, it's only this version or that version'."

Some 14 companies have already had their products certified under the scheme and are entitled to the OpenStack Powered branding in the OpenStack Marketplace.

OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said the tests have been developed over the past year, with community and user involvement in defining the specs and the testing and refining the software.

"This is when we're just starting to roll them out. We're now launching the enforcement and the requirements," he said.

"But going forward any new product or service being launched will have to pass these tests to be able to use the OpenStack trademark or to be able to call themselves OpenStack. All the existing products and services that are in the marketplace, we're going to go back and we'll be testing them through the remainder of the year."

OpenStack Foundation chief operating officer Mark Collier said the drive to adopt the federated identity feature in OpenStack Kilo is important in unlocking the potential of easy access to multiple clouds.

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"With the same set of logins, the same credentials, the same web dashboard, users can say, 'I need some resources for my applications on the West coast, I need some on the East coast, I need some in Europe, I need some in Asia and, oh, I'll use a few at our headquarters wherever that is, let's say, LA'," he said.

"That's the scenario that people have really been interested in for a long time and this is really about the identity piece of that. So with a single set of credentials, it looks to your users like, 'Wow, I now have clouds all over the planet'. The operators can fine-tune what the controls are in terms of how much the end users can use of those resources. But it really helps make hybrid cloud a reality."

OpenStack is an open-source project started in 2010 by Rackspace and NASA to create components for building public and private clouds on standard hardware.

It is now backed by more than 200 vendors, including Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware, with a large developer community working on a range of loosely-coupled projects. Mirantis is one of OpenStack's founding members.

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