OpenStack from Austin to Zed

OpenStack from Austin to Zed

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A dozen years ago, people still struggled to understand the concept of cloud. The joke that a cloud was just someone else’s computer was still popular and already fundamentally wrong. Even Oracle CEO Larry Ellison sneered that cloud computing was just the latest fad. Some people knew better. Among them were NASA’s Ames Research Center and Rackspace, developers who had independently proposed the idea of ​​an open-source cloud. Today we call this cloud OpenStack.

The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloudthe ancestor of Amazon Web Services (AWS), already existed, and Microsoft launched Azure in February 2010. But even though these depended on Linux and other open source programs, they were proprietary platforms. Ames’ team wanted NASA to host and manage its own computing and data resources. However, they did not have the resources to do it themselves.

At the same time, Jonathan Bryce, co-founder of Rackspace and future executive director of OpenStack, was working on his own open-source cloud project. Then, Bryce said in an interview, “we met these people at NASA, and it went really well. So we flew to Moffett Field (Ames main campus) and spent a whole day with them. All the time, everyone was just sitting there nodding because we were rebuilding our stuff in Python. They were using Python. We chose the Apache 2 license. They chose the Apache 2 license. So, we were , ‘Yes, we must join forces!'”

And they did. The first version of OpenStack, Austin, appeared in October 2010. Besides the creation of OpenStack, it would be the first time government-funded software was released under an open-source license. Bryce also recalled that it was “a bit different from how open source had been approached. For the most part, open source projects were a collaboration between people trying to scratch their own itch or core projects open source where a single company built a core of the open-source project, but all the extras were proprietary, and they owned the whole monetization process.”

With OpenStack, Bryce continued, “We wanted open source software to be a key enabler not just for our business, but for everyone’s business. So from the start, we were really interested in having a great ecosystem. of people coming together to build it all.”

So, from its earliest days, OpenStack has seen many companies invest in it and share in the wealth of open source. Early members, who are still with him today, include Dell, Cisco Mirantis, and Red Hat. With thousands of developers, OpenStack is the third most popular open source project.

Within a few years, OpenStack’s popularity exploded. HP, IBM, Red Hat, VMware, and many other tech powerhouses have lent their support to OpenStack. As Jim Curry, Rackspace’s then senior vice president of strategy and business development, put it, “Two things came together. First, cloud technology and its form factor were reaching an infraction point. After several years, Amazon Web Services was just beginning to enter the mainstream, and people were looking for not just an open-source alternative, but any AWS alternative.”

It was more than that, however. Bryce explained, “We had laid the groundwork, built the community, and brought the software to a point where its market ecosystem really started going crazy.” It was used for almost everything you could use a cloud for.

Then, Bryce continued, “One of the most interesting and unexpected turning points in technology has happened. The telecommunications industry has really started to engage with OpenStack. When we launched OpenStack, we were thinking about data center software for distributed storage. But starting in 2014, Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) would begin to run the backbones of cellular networks.

OpenStack has become the default telecom cloud. Companies such as Verizon Mobile and China Mobile use it to replace older, slower switching systems.

At the same time, OpenStack was used in what its creators had imagined for it. Bryce continued, “There are 40 million cores deployed in OpenStack environments. It’s everything from airlines, automakers, financial services, government agencies, and private, hybrid, and public clouds.

For example, in Europe, OpenStack is used as the basis for public clouds. These include hyperscale clouds from Deutsche Telekom/T-Systems, Cleura Public Cloud and OVH Public Cloud. Then there are unusual public clouds. One of the most entertaining is OneQuode. It is a Pacific Ocean-based cloud provider that specializes in delivering low-latency, high-speed gaming to customers from Korea to San Francisco and the islands in between.

On top of that, OpenStack users have continued to explore new use cases. For example, Bryce said, “TensorFlow has arrived, and now OpenStack is used for artificial intelligence and machine learning. And it’s also used to transcode video at the edge so[peoplecankeep4kvideosontheirphonessotheinnovationneverstops”[peoplecanwatch4kvideosontheirphonesSoyeahinnovationneverstops”[lesgenspuissentregarderdesvidéos4ksurleurtéléphoneAlorsouil’innovationnes’arrêtejamais”[peoplecanwatch4kvideosontheirphonesSoyeahinnovationneverstops”

Moreover, other important projects were born from OpenStack. These include Airship, a cloud provisioning system; Kata containers, lightweight container-like virtual machines (VMs); StarlingX, an edge cloud stack; and Zuul, a continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) program.

Now OpenStack, under the leadership of the OpenInfra Foundation, has its latest Zed release. The highlights of this version are a new interface, Skyline; better security, always a strength of OpenStack; Venus, a newspaper aggregation service; and more hardware support.

Skyline will replace the Horizon interface, which has gotten a bit long in the tooth. Skyline replaces Horizon’s AngularJS JavaScript framework with the ReactJS framework.

For security, the key new feature is that its Keystone authorization service now supports OAuth 2.0. Additionally, you can now move encrypted storage volumes between projects. Before that, you could only move unencrypted volumes.

In preparation for the next release, OpenStack Antelope, OpenStack will be rolling out a new release cadence that goes by the amusing name of Skip Level Upgrade Release Process (SLURP). With SLURP, OpenStack will always have two releases per year. But one release will be for long-term support, while the other will contain more short-term experimental code. With this, OpenStack users won’t feel the need to constantly update their codebases.

OpenStack remains the most popular open source cloud for private, hybrid, and public clouds. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a use case you can’t use OpenStack for. It really does just about everything. Granted, some early supporters, such as SUSE, left OpenStack, but others, such as Red Hat and Mirantis, remain loyal OpenStack supporters.

If you want to run your own cloud your way, for any job you can imagine, then, as now, OpenStack is your best bet.

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