​OpenStack expands focus beyond the IaaS cloud

Almost from day one OpenStack has been more than an Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud. Moving forward it wants to address the whole gamut of open infrastructure.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

In Berlin, at OpenStack Summit, Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack's Executive Director, announced that this would be the last OpenStack Summit and it would be replaced next year by Open Infrastructure Summit. This is more than just a name change. It represents that OpenStack is evolving beyond its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud offerings to offering a full range of cloud services.

This isn't a sudden change. OpenStack has been expanding its offerings for some time. As Thierry Carrez, the OpenStack Foundation's VP of engineering wrote, in 2017 OpenStack started "shifting our focus from being solely about the production of the OpenStack software, to more broadly helping organizations embrace open infrastructure: using and combining open source solutions to fill their needs in terms of IT infrastructure."

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Specifically, this has led OpenStack into starting container, edge computing and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) projects. So far, OpenStack has launched Kata Containers, a secure container approach; Zuul, a CI/CD system; Airship, a front-end to Kubernetes; and StarlingX, an edge-computing cloud stack.

Moving ahead, Carrez continued, OpenStack will be:

...integrating existing open source projects produced by adjacent open source communities. However some gaps may persist and extra technology pieces may be necessary to fill the goals of our strategic focus areas. The OSF enables those projects to be successfully set up as open collaborations, by providing IP management, a set of base collaboration rules ... and upstream and downstream community support services. Projects are not tied to a specific Strategic Focus Areas (SFA_: they should ideally help with multiple SFAs. The idea here is not to bring on dozens of projects, but to curate a set of strong projects that help solve real-world problems for our users.

Clark Boylan, head of OpenStack developer infrastructure, wrote in a message entitled OpenDev, the future of OpenStack Infra to the OpenStack community, "to host OpenStack and non-OpenStack projects together without confusion ... we've acquired the opendev.org domain which will allow us to host services under a neutral name as the OpenDev Infrastructure team."

Will these projects be "OpenStack?" Will the Foundation, as it broadens its base from the IaaS cloud change its name?

The answer is no. Or, at least no time soon.

In a question and answer session after the keynotes, Mark Collier, OpenStack's Chief Operating Officer, said, "The OpenStack Foundation brand is not a big deal, while Open Infrastructure Summit is to bring people together who may not be involved with OpenStack." That said, if the membership wants it (a name change), it can on the horizon."

Another question that expansion of OpenStack's mission prompts is whether this means it's competing with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The CNCF's main open-source project is Kubernetes, but it also supports container, edge computing and CI/CD projects. Sound familiar? It should.

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Bryce in the Q&A replied, "Competition between open source projects is silly We want to make open-source projects work together, run things together, and test things together. Open source is about community."

Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of CNCF, also believes in open-source community, but he's not so sure of renaming OpenStack Summit to Open Infrastructure Summit. Aniszczyk tweeted, "interesting branding choice... I'd argue the home of open infrastructure is already CNCF... the top cloud providers in the world have made their choice... anyways, I'm happy to see more organizations push open source and open infrastructure."

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