I enjoy kayaking white water rapids – they are exhilarating and demanding. The water accelerates around obstacles and shows its power. You cannot simply ride the current; you must navigate your way around obstacles, stay clear of eddies that pull you back and watch for hidden rocks. The secret to success is to read the current and make small adjustments as you are carried along – resistance is futile.
After the summit, I see the OpenStack with the Grizzly release like water entering the rapids. The quality and capability of the code base continues to improve while the number of players with offerings in the ecosystem is also increasing rapidly. Until now, there was plenty of room to play together; however, as scope, activity and velocity increase there will more inter-vendor interactions.
As a member of the OpenStack board, I have tremendous enthusiasm for what the OpenStack community has accomplished. There have been some really positive accounts of the summit including CSC “OpenStack gains maturity…“, Silicon Angle “OpenStack has reached a Flash Point”, Randy Bias’ “OpenStack is THE Stack”, Wayne Walls “Hallway Track” and much more on the Planet OpenStack aggregator.
In fact, we’ve created such a love fest for OpenStack that I fear we are drinking our own kool aide.
I have a responsibility to be transparent and honest about challenges facing the us because it’s the Foundation’s job to guide us forward. My positions result from many conversations that I had throughout the week of the Summit. They are also the result of my first hand experiences along with my 14 years of cloud experience.
Over the next posts, I’ll explore a number of these topics with the goal of helping navigate a path through the potential turbulence. The simple fact is the OpenStack is growing quickly and that creates challenges:
- A growing number of new developers are joining. Since our work surface area is expanding, it’s both easier than ever to participate and harder to navigate where to begin. We need to get ahead of the design cycles.
- A growing number of non-devs are participating and bringing important contributions and experience. We must include them in the OpenStack meritocracy because they speak for the quality and usability of the project.
- A growing number of companies (many “name brands”) who are still trying to figure out how to participate and collaborate in open source projects. Lack of experience increases the risk of divergence (forking) and market confusion.
- A growing number of products based on OpenStack also increases forking risk as OpenStack contributors feel compelled to differentiate.
- A growing number of core components (compute+block+network+…) that are required to have base functionality.
- A growing number of incubated projects that continue to stress innovation and pace of change that challenges the very question of “what is OpenStack?”
- A growing number of deployed sites offering OpenStack clouds but the community lacks a way to verify (or really discuss) compatibility between the sites.
This list is a cause for celebration not a cause for alarm – every item is a challenges based on our success. The community and Foundation are already working to address the risks.
While some of us enjoy the chaos and excitement of rapids, other can take comfort from the fact that they are always followed by calm waters. Don’t worry – we’ll navigate through this together.