OpenStack in Action: lots of excitement but still early days

by Pierre-Luc Bisaillon

On Tuesday this week, eNovance hosted OpenStack in Action, a conference to bring the message of OpenStack to Montreal attendees. The conference was well attended, yet after listening to the seven or eight speakers, I still had too many questions. Here’s where I think it fell short:

Disclaimer: eNovance is a competitor and CloudStack is our platform of choice today. We evaluate alternatives continuously and have worked with some OpenStack projects like Swift.)

Will the Foundation provide the required leadership?

There was an interesting presentation addressing the principles and organization of the OpenStack Foundation. On one hand, it’s impressive to see the level of structure and investment that went into the foundation, with some full-time staff and multi-level structure.

But is that what open source is really about? Should open source be led by a benevolent “spiritual leader,” as was the case for Linux, or by a large group of corporate, profit-driven donors?

Wrong metrics

If you’ve been to any OpenStack conference, you will notice something a little funny about all of the success they are celebrating. But there is no talk of servers in production. Every presentation that I’ve heard about the progress of OpenStack highlights the number of commits that were done, the number of developers involved, or the number of companies signed up in the foundation.

Don’t get me wrong, all else being equal, I would rather more developers writing more code with more money in the bank.

The problem is, no one is talking about the final result of all this. So what? Are there a lot of commits because people can’t up make their mind? Because there are too many companies adding support for their device in an incoherent fashion?

No case studies or business value

Other than a few names dropped in the introductory remarks, not one person presented a case study. None of the speakers addressed common use cases of OpenStack, or of any cloud platform, for that matter. Presentations were vendor driven (RedHat, SUSE, HP) or highly technical (load balancing, SDN).

The future?

OpenStack is a large movement, with significant technical and marketing resources, and as an independent organization, we continue to monitor its progress and work with components that are more mature and ready for prime time.

What will the future hold? Will this influx of developers and fun conferences lead to a coherent and powerful platform? Or will the whole add up to … less than the sum of its parts?

Share Your Thoughts!

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