OpenStack–uh Open Infrastructure? OpenDev?–remains popular

cloud-computing

If you read the OpenStack User Survey Report you’ll find OpenStack, the open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud, is growing ever more popular. But at the same time OpenStack‘s branding is getting a little confusing. While the IaaS cloud name remains the same, its branding is pivoting to Open Infrastructure, or is it OpenDev?

Let’s start with the good news.

More and more companies are deploying OpenStack. Some 10 million computing cores run OpenStack every day around the world. While OpenStack isn’t a big public cloud player, it does run more than 75 smaller public clouds, such as RackSpace. OpenStack is one of the three most active open-source projects. Only the Linux kernel and Chromium see more changes.

OpenStack is continuing to integrate with Kubernetes. That’s a good thing since you’d be hard pressed to find someone today who’s not incorporating Kubernetes into their cloud container orchestration plans.

Interestingly enough, this has led to the growth of Ironic, OpenStack’s bare metal cloud service. While we tend to think of clouds and virtual machines (VM) going together like bread and butter, bare metal still has its fans. Specifically, Ironic has grown from just 9 percent in 2016 to 24 percent of production deployments today.

You can see this in detail by noticing that Kubernetes OpenStack users are the ones driving Ironic’s growth. Thirty seven percent of them are deploying on bare metal with Ironic. To no surprise, Magnum, the Cloud Native Computing  Foundation (CNCF)certified Kubernetes on OpenStack installer, is used by 16 percent of these Ironic users.

Another reason for Kubernetes growth, which OpenStack doesn’t dig too deeply into, is the growth of the hybrid cloud. While 75 percent of OpenStack users are deploying it on-premises in private clouds, many of them are also using public clouds. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of OpenStack users said they were using a multi-cloud environment, with AWS being the leading option at 44 percent. Microsoft Azure, 28 percent, and Google Compute Engine (GCP), 24 percent, are also popular.

Where does the hybrid cloud come in? Kubernetes is increasingly becoming the glue companies use to cement private and public clouds together. While I was in Berlin at OpenStack Summit, many users told me they’re building hybrid clouds with Kubernetes bridging the gap between their private and public clouds.

Now for the puzzling news.

First, OpenStack, which has always included numerous sub-projects, is supporting more programs outside its IaaS cloud remit. These are: Kata Containers, a secure container approach; Zuul, a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) system; Airship, a front-end to Kubernetes; and Starling, an edge-computing cloud stack.

This has been coming for a while. In 2017 Thierry Carrez, the OpenStack Foundation’s VP of engineering, wrote that OpenStack started “shifting our focus from being solely about the production of the OpenStack software, to more broadly helping organizations embrace open infrastructure.”

So, it wasn’t too surprising when Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack‘s Executive Director, announced that OpenStack Summit would be replaced in 2019 by Open Infrastructure Summit.

So far, so good. But Clark Boylan, head of the OpenStack developer infrastructure team, wrote to OpenStack developers in a message with the subject  OpenDev, the future of OpenStack Infra: “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.”

Avoiding confusion may have been the intent, but the reality was everyone from CIOs to programmers were more confused afterwards.

In an OpenStack Summit panel, Boylan added, “we will become the OpenDev infrastructure team rather than the OpenStack infrastructure team,” but noted that the  change will be a slow one.

So, what does all that mean? OpenStack, the IaaS cloud, is retaining its name. But the umbrella brand going forward will be OpenDev. It will shelter OpenStack, AirShip, Kata, Starling, and Zuul. The “OpenStack” conferences, however, will be Open Infrastructure.

Got all that? I hope so. I’m still a bit befuddled myself.

If I were being paid big bucks as a branding expert, I’d suggest that they use “OpenDev” or “Open Infrastructure” for everything moving forward except for the OpenStack IaaS cloud and its subsidiary projects. That I’d just keep as OpenStack.

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