It’s been a totally good period for OpenStack and it has recently celebrated its 5th birthday.

I had some doubt on the opinions that have been given by many people who have put forth their doubts in the very beginning and initial days of the project. Some of them were  is this project really needed for building a cloud? Will it turn out to be a short time project and end-up soon as a dead project? etc

OpenStack may not be enjoying the sales and marketing in recent times how it used to be a couple of years back as the technicality involved in it kept changing and people were getting more interested to involve themselves in it from a technical perspective.

OpenStack Foundation – Governance and Community

Coming to the governance model that is being followed there are many mandatory rules and regulations which are set by the OpenStack Foundation members and those need to be followed  when using OpenStack. But the intention behind these rules is to technically move forward in all possible mechanisms. OpenStack has good support from many enterprises and their employees are hacking/contributing to the upstream OpenStack codebase. Even Venture Capitalists had levied their confidence on OpenStack and funded startups that aimed at building services around OpenStack. In these 5 years we could see many startups that started their journey. They either moved ahead in a sole manner with their development plans or in a collaborative manner by forming a group with other organizations. Some of them have been eventually acquired by others after integrating their thoughts.

Based on the definition of OpenStack – This is a platform used for building the needed resources and provide Infrastructure-as-a-Service and always strives to get something that has to be done for getting  XaaS where ‘X‘ could be storage, database, VPN, Firewall, Load Balancing and so on.

Coming to the community collaboration and their indulgence in the project – OpenStack is one of the largest OpenSource project that has come in the cloud computing domain and it is the biggest project that has been done by writing the code in python. Almost 70-80 % of its code is in Python.

Quickstart into OpenStack

If a newbie wants to do an OpenStack deployment certain things could be confusing. Trying to install OpenStack itself is confusing and consumes time as it needs to be done in proper and same way for each release. Probably I wouldn’t be surprised if someone might be trying to do the complete automation of OpenStack and other related services through scripting, webUI or in any configuration management tools. We also keep hearing about major common names who either have their own distribution of OpenStack or contributing a plugin so that their device can be used as an infrastructure resource in the OpenStack deployment.

Trying to get a Federated Cloud, one has to think of a way to share the entire workload simultaneously on multiple OpenStack distributions with the help of a single graphical dashboard and that you can think of directing to do a hybrid cloud deployment.

After every 6 months there is an OpenStack release and for every release there are ample number of new commits which are either bug fixes or feature enhancement or new blueprints. To coordinate with developers or the upstream contributors is not an easy job. You can think of contributing back by giving a proper document on what code changes have been done by explaining its functionality and commit the documentation to openstack-documentation project.

Emerging Projects

In due course of time many sub-projects started and have grownup in various phases from the functionality of the services being provided with an idea or incubation to the graduation stage. These are some of emerging projects:

  • FWaaS (FireWall-as-a-Service) is a Neutron extension that introduces firewall feature set.
  • Congress – An OpenStack project to provide policy as a service across any collection of cloud services.
  • Barbican – A REST API designed for the secure storage, provisioning and management of secrets such as passwords, encryption keys and X.509 Certificates.
  • Designate – This project provides DNS as a Service for the entire OpenStack environment that has been deployed.

And the list goes on…

OpenStack comprises of several core projects. These core projects elect their own PTLs and has some level of independence on milestone planning, feature enhancements and delivery. As specified by the Foundation the panel exercises some control over the projects to ensure openness in design, development and modifications. But sometimes we come across 2-3 sub-projects or ideas aimed at the same goal or some development activity plugged with a vendor device. So the usage of a sub-project totally depends on its overall amalgamation with a complete OpenStack deployment.

OpenStack has been performing well in due course of time and it has built up a good governance model that has clubbed many people who are like minded in their technical thoughts. There have been good contributions coming up from the community which has increased the number of associated projects and has put down a way in linking the existing physical infrastructure to the virtual environment.

In summary the approach of getting into an OpenStack powered planet can be put down in a couple of lines as:

  • Product based companies are coming up with their own models of implementation to get their applications used from anywhere in the world.
  • Services based companies are handling the operations, management and monitoring related tasks.