AUSTIN: The OpenStack community is pushing the diversity of the ecosystem surrounding the cloud framework as one of its great strengths in meeting the evolving requirements of customers, particularly in helping them face the disruptions of the digital transformation process.
More than 7,500 developers and users gathered at the first OpenStack Summit event of 2016 to network and thrash out the roadmap for the next version of the open source platform, codenamed Newton and due in October. The most recent version, OpenStack Mitaka, was released about a month ago.
The OpenStack Foundation also announced availability of a new Certified OpenStack Administrator qualification for which IT professionals can now apply. This is part of the Foundation's efforts to address the shortage of cloud skills in the industry and help organisations identify qualified candidates.
OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce hailed the diversity of the platform ecosystem during his keynote address, saying that it involved over 57,000 members in 178 countries developing solutions for private clouds, public clouds, networking, telecoms, big data and research applications.
Meanwhile, customers such as AT&T, SAP, Verizon and Volkswagen lined up to voice their backing for OpenStack and detail how their organisations use the platform to drive business.
A common theme was how OpenStack is well suited to helping organisations deliver digital transformation. Gartner analyst Donna Scott detailed the notion of bimodal IT, whereby businesses need IT infrastructure that is as stable as possible to run traditional business-critical systems (mode 1), while still having the ability to experiment and be agile in bringing new applications and services into use as quickly as possible (mode 2).
Not everyone agrees with the bimodal concept, but Bryce said: "It matches what we see in many organisations: how to handle existing enterprise technology and at the same time move faster with agile technologies.
"IT environments are becoming more diverse not less, and OpenStack is a strategy that lets you take advantage of diversity."
Bryce explained that one of the main efforts in the OpenStack community has been to make sure the basic infrastructure level is "rock solid", enabling organisations to begin moving existing IT onto an OpenStack private cloud, while the extensible nature of OpenStack means it can also be used for new purposes, such as developing cloud-native apps.
Scott backed this up, saying that Gartner recommends organisations to "look to onboard mode 1 apps into the cloud under OpenStack".
"Successful OpenStack users have different models for different needs. You might take your Oracle applications and forklift to OpenStack, or you might build something completely cloud-native," Bryce continued.
"But being able to tie the two together is really important, as those systems are dependant; new apps need old apps as they often need to access data from systems of record."
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