OpenStack Summit opens with an open-source gospel reading

Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, believes the future belongs to those in any company who can embrace not just the OpenStack cloud, but the open source method and its hyper-accelerated rate of IT change.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
OpenStack Summit

ATLANTA, GA — Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, kicked off the OpenStack Summit with about 4,500 developers, end-users, and executives with a sermon on the gospel of open source software development.

Bryce opened with a pep talk to the OpenStack faithful. He talked about how the open source method had enabled OpenStack to hit its release dates for its latest version, Icehouse, while bringing in thousands of developers from hundreds of companies. At the same time, he mentioned the Internet is what enables programmers and reviewers to work in real-time.

From there, he said that software is now enabling everything. "We're living in a software-defined economy. Every company competes with a start-up. The barrier of entry is now very low. The technology shift of development to open source and the Internet has made it very cheap to build new software and this, in turn, is increasing the velocity of money." In short, "Any organization's ability to do great things with software is arguably its core competence, no matter the industry, vertical, or category," argued Bryce.

He added that "real business is being done on OpenStack today." OpenStack commercial users are embracing this agile infrastructure. They are not just buying software for a three-to-five year cycle. They, especially the "super-users," are now getting involved in creating software rather than just buying it.

In Bryce's view, super-users are those individuals who "make their organizations competitive in a software-defined economy. Super-users are change agents who enable their organizations to build deeply strategic software. Super-users are uniquely effective because they understand the power of great software in context."

These super-users may work in technology companies like Cisco, Dell, or Netflix, but they also work in businesses such as Bloomberg, Comcast, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo Bank. These companies take advantage of OpenStack, and other open source software stacks, not simply to cut IT costs but to get exactly the features they need from their software.

Walt Disney's director of cloud services and architecture, Chris Launey, a super-user in Bryce's view, came on stage and said that in a world where "people can now set up a WordPress-powered content site in 20 minutes with a credit card are not going to settle for an IT environment where they have to put in tickets." Disney wants to make it as easy for their staffers to work at the office with their corporate programs as they do from their home with public cloud services.

Launey added that at Disney, and he thinks, at any forward thinking company, you should not have to choose between good, fast, or cheap. Instead, today, "it's fast, fast, fast. We change little bits all the time. It's all about faster pizza with an extra helping of faster." For example, Disney went from playing with OpenStack to deploying pilot projects in three months.

"When you get tech people together, they talk about shadow IT as a bad thing. It's not," commented Launey. "Shadow IT is great, it shows where the problems are and where your people are finding problems. You shouldn't put obstacles in front of people." Instead, Bryce added: "We need to use more carrot rather than stick in corporate IT."

So how do you get people into OpenStack and then become super-users in the first place? OpenStack has new answers for that. First, there's a new online catalog of OpenStack resources, OpenStack Marketplace. Here, new users can find resources that will help then get started with OpenStack. For those who already know and embrace OpenStack, the new online publication OpenStack Superuser is meant to help you become a change agent in your company.

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