Microsoft joins Open Infrastructure Foundation

The OpenInfra Foundation, the successor to the OpenStack Foundation, announced today that Microsoft has joined it to further its open-source, cloud technologies.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

For years, OpenStack, the open-source, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud (and related projects such as Airship, open-source tools for cloud provisioning, and Zuul, the Ansible-based continuous integration (CI) system) has hovered between what Gartner calls the Trough of Disillusionment and Slope of Enlightenment. Now with Microsoft joining the Open Infrastructure Foundation, it should be clear to anyone that OpenStack and its related technologies have jumped to the Plateau of Productivity.

Why? Because together they can advance and profit from using these cloud technologies to further the hybrid cloud and, an OpenStack specialty, 5G. Microsoft is joining the Open Infrastructure Foundation as a Platinum Member.

This move makes perfect sense. According to the 2021 OpenStack User Survey, which will be released shortly in Superuser Magazine, 40% of OpenStack users running their deployment in a multi-cloud configuration are already running OpenStack on Azure. Clearly, OpenInfra and Microsoft belong together. 

In his presentation to the OpenInfra Board of Directors, Ryan van Wyk, Microsoft's Partner Software Engineering Manager for Azure for Operators, said the multi-year commitment to support the OpenInfra Foundation is Microsoft's latest move to support a vibrant and diverse ecosystem of open source projects and communities. Specifically, via Microsoft's membership, van Wyk said the company will:

  • Represent the interests of its telecom customers in the OpenStack and broader OpenInfra community,

  • Actively contribute to several OpenInfra projects, and

  • Look for opportunities to integrate OpenInfra projects into Microsoft Azure's product roadmap as it evolves.

Specifically, Microsoft will use OpenInfra technologies in its partnership with AT&T. Microsoft is merging the AT&T Network Cloud platform into Microsoft's Azure for Operators telco offering to enable telecommunication companies to deliver highly reliable, cost-effective, and secure 5G services to consumer and enterprise customers. This will also enable telecommunications customers currently using OpenStack deployed on Kubernetes to work with or migrate to Azure for Operators.

With this move, Microsoft is joining with the 60 organizations that are already OpenInfra members to define the future of open-source powered infrastructure. With their support and the support of over 110,000 individuals in 187 countries, the OpenInfra Foundation hosts numerous open-source infrastructure programs for AI, container-native apps, edge computing, and clouds. Besides the projects already mentioned, its projects include Kata Containers, OpenInfra Labs, StarlngX, and the Magma 5G project.

These projects matter. As Mark Collier, the OpenInfra Foundation COO, said, "Software like OpenStack, now powers 9 of the top 10 telecom networks in the world, Kata Containers secures the world's largest payment network, and Airship powers the AT&T 4G and 5G networks in production today." 

"Microsoft is joining this effort to support building the next decade of open infrastructure technology because the hybrid cloud is an important element of our technology portfolio," added van Wyk. "We believe in a variety of clouds: public and private, from hyperscale to edge, each tuned to the unique workloads that our customers need to deliver and we can't do it without open source. We are here at the OpenInfra Foundation to participate in the community and work together to build and integrate open-source technologies to deliver carrier-grade Microsoft Azure for Operators infrastructure."

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