OpenStack – Free at Last!

In 1883 writer Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a book that has gone on to be a classic not only in print form but also on the big screen called “Treasure Island”.  If you have not read it, do…it’s a great book, even if you are an adult.  But there is one line in the book that rings so true for today.  Stevenson’s character, Long John Silver is arguing with the pirates about a mutiny, but as they have no Captain, Silver points out the problem; “We can steer a course, but who’s to set one?. Over the years the Open Source community has, in many cases, been a lot like that.  There have been tremendously skilled people are writing code and creating revolutionary applications…but there was nobody to point them in the same direction, and as such, the project turned out to be less than it could be, or ended up being “all forked up” (as in too many versions of the same thing).  As of today though, OpenStack has that “Captain” in the form of a Board of Directors of the newly formed OpenStack Foundation.

I don’t want you to think that I am saying that OpenStack is unable to function without a Foundation and Board of Directors…because I am not.  But the best organizations, initiatives and revolutions happen when there is a leader with a vision…and in this case a group that can allow those writing the code to focus on that, and keep out of the politics that always seems to get in the way of a project like this (like the four billion versions of Linux).

I am proud to say that Dell was the first Tier 1 hardware provider to support OpenStack and offers a proven reference architecture for a successful OpenStack deployment as well as other tools such as our Crowbar utility that was released into the OpenSource community to ease in the deployment of OpenStack and Hadoop infrastructures.  Not only were we the first Tier 1 hardware company to support OpenStack, but we have also see the election of two of our own to the Board of Directors of the new OpenStack Foundation.

Rob Hirschfeld (one of the creators of Crowbar) will participate as an individual board member. He will continue sharing his cloud ops and open source technical expertise at a greater scale to advance the OpenStack platform and promote the community.

Dell’s John Igoe (Executive Director of Cloud Software Solutions) was elected as a Gold board member representative. He will be helping to complete the organizational structure of the Foundation, and working to continue the global expansion of OpenStack.

Now…why is this so important?  Simply put, the Cloud was never meant to be proprietary.  When you think about it, if one or two companies hold all of the secrets and *poof* they go away, what happens to all of the data in the Cloud?  If they decide one day to change the way the do things without giving you, their customer, the API’s and utilities you need to manage your Cloud infrastructure, you could be in a world of hurt.  However, when a Cloud is OPEN…nobody holds all of the keys and everyone has a chance to contribute, not only is the end product better, but the technology that makes it all work…it’s in the open…there are no secrets. It’s safe. Yes…I am an Open Source believer over proprietary, closed-source software.  Always have been and always will be.

For the longest time, Amazon Web Services (EC2 and S3) was the 800 pound gorilla that we had to work with.  You could run Windows VM’s (still a valuable and necessary tool in many enterprises) and Linux, but Amazon didn’t open that technology to the rest of the world.  Canonical offered a very solid Cloud platform for Linux instances, but the Eucalyptus Cloud Manager didn’t play well with Windows, and what do you see now…Canonical embracing OpenStack.  In a post that I’ll be releasing later this week we’ll see how once again, Canonical is taking a lead role by implementing a key storage technology into their OpenStack implementation (but we’ll keep on topic for now).

The future is open.  It’s open in the software world and it’s open in the hardware world as well as Facebook’s OpenCompute strategy is gaining strength and interest across all industries.

To celebrate the new OpenStack Foundation, Dell will be sponsoring OpenStack Meet-ups in Boston and Austin tonight.  If you are in the area, come by and check it out!  Should be a great time.

So, congratulations to the new OpenStack Foundation and the new Board of Directors.  I am excited to see what the future holds for OpenStack!

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