MOUNTAIN VIEW: The OpenStack community is turning its attention to support for containers and improving the platform's enterprise-worthiness, as the OpenStack Foundation celebrated gaining non-profit status from the US government, a move that will free up extra resources for development, the organisation said.
Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said at the OpenStack Silicon Valley conference at California's Computer History Museum that OpenStack has developed over the past five years into a general-purpose "integration engine" for IT departments to build infrastructure that allows them to operate a diverse array of applications and services.
"OpenStack has become a framework for computing that lets you plug in commercial and open source options for virtualisation, storage and networking, which is a key benefit for users. What that points to is that OpenStack operates as an integration engine that can take different types of hardware and software, and integrate them into a unified platform that users can operate applications and services on top of," he said.
Bryce announced that the OpenStack Foundation, which oversees the activities of the OpenStack developer community, has been officially recognised as a tax-exempt non-profit business by the US government.
"From a practical perspective, this means we will have more resources to invest in the community over the long term," he said.
Bryce also announced the launch of a new App Dev section on the OpenStack.org website with resources to help developers make better use of the OpenStack APIs, including a whitepaper on containers.
Containers are the hot technology of the moment, as they hold the promise of packaging applications and services for easy deployment in the cloud, with greater density and scalability than using virtual machines. Much of the effort in the OpenStack community is thus now focused on making containers work without being too restrictive or tying users into one container platform or another.
Docker has garnered much publicity for its container technology, but successfully bringing containers to OpenStack involves more than just supporting Docker, as Craig McLuckie, group product manager for Google's Compute Engine platform, explained.
"There needs to be something to map containers to your OpenStack infrastructure, the compute, storage and network resources, so that applications inside the containers can access these," he said.
Naturally, McLuckie held up the Kubernetes project that Google founded as a key part of the solution, with other pieces supplied by OpenStack's Magnum and the Murano project started by OpenStack firm Mirantis.
"Magnum adds Kubenetes to OpenStack, while Mirantis' Murano provides native Kubernetes package integration," McLuckie explained, but adding that there is still much work to be done on properly integrating containers into OpenStack.
"We need to work together as a community to ensure that the core service model can span virtual machines and containers, and we need better integration with the Neutron (networking) module and a solution for containers on bare metal," he said.
"Virtual machines still have a future as they are the only way to achieve the isolation some applications and services need, but for many people containers are the way forward for most workloads."
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