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OpenStack – Press Pass

I talk with the press frequently. Thankfully, they whack down my ramblings into concise quotes. For those who prefer to see more, I try to dump publish those slightly polished up conversations this new category of posts: Press Pass.

Last week, Jack Clark of ZDNet UK asked me about Rackspace’s OpenStack project, who has an upcoming community meeting in Austin (which, sadly, I’ll be out of town for). Form our email “conversation,” here’s his questions and my answers:

Q: The release notes show greater compatibility for security group protocols used in Eucalyptus and AWS – how important are steps like this for increasing portability?

A: Ideally, different cloud platforms would be very compatible with each other, and you could just move applications around willy-nilly. This kind of thing doesn’t really exist in the non-cloud world, where application dependencies between operating systems and various patch levels are normal. Being pragmatic, you’d at least hope that cloud platforms would one day be as interoperable as different Linux distributions: requiring some tweaking to move from distro to distro, but not major rework, if the application was written with moving around in mind. For OpenStack (or any would be public cloud platform), making migrations from Amazon easy is key as that’s where the bulk of current cloud users are that you’d want to poach. More generally, if there’s a lower-level, architectural concept like security groups that’s finding success in the cloud world, it’s probably wise to implement it instead of coming up with your own ideas that developers will have to learn afresh.


Q: How significant is OpenStack to the cloud ecosystem, given its partner program and core technology?

A: At the moment, there’s high hopes around OpenStack from many people in the cloud ecosystem. Aside from Rackspace themselves, there are not big instances of using OpenStack (that I know of), but that’s because OpenStack as a “cloud in a box” platform is still a work in progress, requiring the deployer to customize it to their setup. (As an aside: the idea of an “instant cloud” is itself a bit far-fetched as setting up the servers, networking, storage, and data center infrastructure needed are far from “instant.”) Rackspace’s goal in releasing early was to get fuller involvement from the resulting community, which looks to be working from the interest I’ve seen from various partners and potential project contributors. Most people working in the cloud space, nascent as it is, are very interested in OpenStack, and the list of people (and companies they represent) going to the upcoming design summit proves this.

Interested in more on OpenStack? Check out my Brief Note from July and an interview with Rackspace’s Jonathan Bryce from the initial release.

Disclosure: Rackspace is a client.

Categories: Cloud, Community, Open Source.

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