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Overheard on Twitter: Climb to platform maturity at OpenStack Summit

Madelyn Stone, Editorial Assistant

Three years since Rackspace and NASA launched OpenStack, the project has gained traction with seven releases and a burgeoning following among service providers, enterprises and vendors. For four days last week, more than 3,000 techies gathered in Portland, Ore. for the spring 2013 OpenStack Summit

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to discuss OpenStack's latest release, Grizzly, and the future of open source cloud. The platform's deployments in large enterprises and its competition against Internet-scale companies such as Amazon fueled much of the chatter in the Twitterverse, as TechTarget's @SearchCloudProv found. Also hot on attendees' radar was the platform's maturity, a point that some commentators seemed to feel OpenStack has begun to reach.

Voices from the business world dominated the OpenStack Summit's opening keynote addresses, where attendees heard from Best Buy, Comcast, Rackspace and others. Niki Acosta, Rackspace's product evangelist for private clouds, noted the mounting momentum around OpenStack-based private clouds. Companies like Best Buy may have waded into OpenStack waters hesitantly, but some like the big-box retailer have since taken the leap and become fully submerged.

Summit speakers may not have had flashy features to demo, but as Rackspace programmer Glen Campbell noted, it's the incremental updates that indicate OpenStack is on its way to achieving more stability, as well as more legitimacy. The keynote address by open source heavyweight Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, drew attention to the potential for collaboration around OpenStack's increasingly stable core.

Kicking off the summit with a healthy dash of cynicism, Gartner Research Director Kyle Hilgendorf commented on the slow pace of open source cloud adoption. Retweets echoed the sentiment, but fellow Gartner analyst Lydia Leong challenged Hilgendorf's follow-up observation that the open source approach itself was the biggest barrier to OpenStack adoption. She drew attention to the issues of product maturity and feature set, both facets OpenStack has emphasized in Grizzly.

SiliconAngle Network CEO John Furrier, Rackspace's Scott Sanchez and other attendees agreed: Minimal vendor hype at the OpenStack Summit made the experience a more rewarding one. In an interview with SiliconAngle blogger Ryan Cox, Wikibon Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder David Floyer, said he appreciated the summit's atmosphere as well, praising the conference for focusing more on production and progress than marketing buzz. Cutting straight to the issues with OpenStack deployments today, discussion panels and sessions at the summit spotlighted the topics of application migration and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Carl Brooks of 451 Research highlighted a bit of insight from the analyst events at the summit: Enterprises are more likely to feel comfortable making the move to cloud computing when they are in control of their data and the migration process. Some of the latest features in Grizzly that focus on operational improvements indicate the OpenStack community is prepared to address this need. The new Quantum component allows for more control of the underlying network, using a set of application programming interfaces for network automation and orchestration in an OpenStack-based cloud.

The OpenStack design process was on Geoff Arnold's mind day two of the summit. As the Brocade cloud networking architect argued in a blog post, developers have focused their attention on individual mechanisms, "but nobody appears to be responsible for the specification of the OpenStack service itself." To maximize stability and interoperability between deployments, Arnold wrote, developers should consider the compatibility of the system before coding a single line of implementation.


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