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IBM challenged OpenStack six months ago: here are the results...

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October 26, 2016

Several members of the OpenStack community have brought up some concerns that various enterprise applications running on rival clouds are somehow locked in and not portable.

That concern has been ongoing for about 1/2 year now, but it looks like there is some progress.

To be sure, no less than 16 major IT companies have demonstrated a model LAMP enterprise application running very well and without a glitch across several OpenStack distributions and public clouds.

The test run was deployed using Ansible and Shade with a second workload deployed using Docker Swarm and Terraform. Enterprise application components included a few networking and firewall configurations that are among the most popular.

Various representatives from Red Hat, CentOS, Canonical, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Huawei, IBM and a few others completed the public demonstration at the OpenStack Conference in Barcelona today.

The whole idea was the result of a direct challenge made by IBM in April of this year at the OpenStack Conference in Austin, Texas.

At the time, Big Blue had kicked off the challenge by releasing code to RefStack for core operability across its own certified cloud platforms. The code tackled usability and stability, among the major topics.

Don Rippert, IBM’s general manager of cloud strategy who announced the challenge told Barcelona on Wednesday he was “very proud” of the achievement.

“Few people would doubt that OpenStack is innovative (but there are sometimes). The integration promise is well understood... The one doubting area we’ve heard from enterprise customers and some IT industry analysts is interoperability: will the vendors allow interoperability? That's one of the main questions.

“The manner in which we gain interest around OpenStack is to be somewhat interoperable. A rising tide gives us more service areas. The interoperability gives us a better platform from which to compete,” he asserted.

The biggest challenge to interoperablity today is forking, a risk made tangible given so many technology firms now offer their own OpenStack variations.

To be sure, Red Hat OpenStack general manager Radhesh Balakrishnan told us the company had already come under some pressure to fork out, and he hoped the show of unity on interoperability would keep OpenStack as a whole and well-operating unity.

"As you already know, there are many players in this segment who will create several forks for you and not worry about contributing back," Balakrishnan asserted the conference attendants.

Pressure has come in the form of RFFs (requests for features) added to OpenStack from IT and enterprise customers he characterized as being 'less familiar' with the open-source culture and as having a background in proprietary hardware and software.

He added that there are customers who say-- "If this has to be approved by the upstream community, this will take a long time." We have to explain to customers: "If I do a fork for you that will hurt you in the long term."

Meanwhile, OpenStack Foundation board member Van Lindberg praised the on-stage demonstration as something that would help tackle a broader misconception about the overall lack of interoperability among the analysts and the press community.

He hoped this would prove that it’s possible to build Amazon-like data centre infrastructure only spanning other IT solutions providers' data centres without needing to build your own.

“The power of OpenStack is that we have the ability to link together different vendors’ data centres in the same way as regions in AWS-- only that you don’t have to build out everywhere in the world,” he added.

“Then you have localisation and data distribution issues solved on a global scale. It simplifies your tools so you have an OpenStack application and you don’t have to care about the person providing the underlying hardware.”

Source: The OpenStack Foundation.

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