PARIS: The OpenStack Foundation is touting its cloud framework as the platform for the software-defined world, as it celebrates growing momentum behind the open source project.
However, the focus is starting to shift from adding features to concerns around stability and management as customers move from pilot deployments to using the software in a production environment.
OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said at the first OpenStack Summit in Europe that the world is now moving into the era of a software-defined economy, and only open source development can deliver the rapid development pace needed for businesses to be agile.
"We're talking about an environment where change is easier than ever, where people can move faster. And what it comes down to is that people have choice like never before," he said.
"The old model [of IT delivery] is going away. Now it's about getting want you want. Customers are mixing and matching solutions in the data centre.
"Virtualisation was brought in by IT departments to drive efficiency, but cloud is an insurgent technology driven by people all around the edge of the business. It's not about the central planning committee, it's anyone who has a credit card."
OpenStack released Juno, the latest version of the platform, in the middle of October.
Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said that open source is becoming increasingly important because there is too much software in use for a single organisation to do it all themselves, and collaboration is the way forward.
"What we're seeing in the software industry is a fundamental change in the way it is being developed. Businesses are moving from a little bit at the edge to a strategic use of open source," he said.
Meanwhile, some customers lined up to speak at the summit said that stability and ease of use should be a focus for OpenStack, rather than adding more and more features as the project has done so far in the relatively short time since its inception in 2010.
Dr Stefan Lenz, head of data centre IT infrastructure at car maker BMW, said that the firm is aiming to use OpenStack to build a private cloud to drive its operations, but that more work is needed.
"The thing that bothers us most is release cycles and huge changes from release to release. We need more stability in the future," he said.
Lenz is currently running a proof of concept deployment, and said that it is likely to be several years before the firm is ready to use it for production purposes.
The lack of a full-blown identity service is a key factor holding BMW back, he said, because this is needed to integrate the OpenStack cloud with the firm's existing change management tools and other infrastructure.
However, Lenz was generally positive about OpenStack, and said there were two major reasons why his firm was keen on adopting it to drive its cloud strategy.
"First, we see in OpenStack APIs a data model to describe cloud and data centre instances that will become an industry standard, so we won't have to change in future," he said.
"Secondly, it is open source and free, so no one earns money off the back of the growth of our company, no one is going to surprise us with licence fees after we have developed a solution, which is something we have seen in the past."
A panel of OpenStack customers and vendor partners identified pain points such as the six-month release cycle the project has followed so far, and said that upgrades need to be made easier.
"A lot of [telecoms] operators are stuck on Havana because they can't upgrade. Many workloads they are operating call for 99.999 percent uptime, so they can't afford to take the system down," said Mats Karlsson, vice president for group function technology at Ericsson.
Mark McLoughlin, a principal engineer at Red Hat, agreed and said that scalability and stability needed to be addressed by OpenStack.
"We're still in the early days of OpenStack, so pain points shouldn't be something we're afraid of talking about. Some contributors want to expand OpenStack, while some are talking about improving the core functionality," he said.
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