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April 27, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 10:46am

OpenStack fires back at its critics by proving VMs and containers can co-exist

Analysis: OpenStack used the day two keynote in Austin to highlight its multiple use cases.

By James Nunns

OpenStack changed the pace for its day two keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Austin, with a stream of users, use cases and plenty of talk about containers.

While on day one there was a noted focus on OpenStack becoming the standard for private cloud, the second day would focus attention on use cases.

The reason for doing this is because OpenStack has in the past been criticised for a lack of use cases. Adoption of the open source cloud has been questioned as businesses struggle to find reasons for adopting it over other clouds in the market.

While day one was serious, day two had a more light-hearted tone, there were more jokes as use cases from several different companies presented on stage. The presentations ranged from large companies such as Time Warner Cable to smaller ones with tcpCloud.

The use of big name companies was not just to draw the crowds, but to showcase the diversity of OpenStack users and to basically tell onlookers that it is fit for both large and small businesses.

Fitting in nicely with this theme were the different ways OpenStack is being used, from supporting an Internet of Things platform that was monitoring multiple different data points at the conference, to how it works with containers.

Day two featured numerous Kubernetes customers and Craig McLuckie, group product manager, Google even made an appearance. Google, which has been slowly aligning itself more closely with OpenStack, is one of the driving forces behind the Kubernetes containers.

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The reason thatthe showcasing of containers is important is because questions have been raised about how OpenStack will work with containers – can virtual machines and containers co-exist in the same architecture? Yes.

Alex Polvi, CEO, CoreOS, ran numerous demos showcasing a fully containerised OpenStack on top of Kubernetes, saying: "OpenStack is just an application."

Mark Collier, COO, OpenStack Foundation took control of the keynote session and said early on that OpenStack is in a pattern recognition phase, basically saying that it is in the process of identifying what users want to see from the cloud technology.

Top of the list came containers, followed by NFV/SDN and Bare Metal in second and third respectively. Kubernetes came out clearly as the top choice for containers with around 40% using it or wanting to use the technology. It’s fair to say that OpenStack has gone a fair way to showing that the technologies are compatible.

Many of the developments coming out of the OpenStack Summit show high-levels of collaboration between different vendors in the community and it was this message of collaboration that would seem is one of the main priorities.

While the community is made up of multiple vendors, it is necessary for them to work together for the sake of the technology. Deals which have seen the likes of Dell and Red Hat collaborating highlight that this is a growing trend. It is also something that organisations such as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is working towards.

The collaboration doesn’t end with companies within the ecosystem, but extends to other open source projects. Cloud Foundry for example is being mentioned quite frequently and Collier talked about the necessity for OpenStack to collaborate with other open source programs.

On the first day there was mention of OpenStack becoming the standard for private cloud deployments and this was a message repeated today by Cisco.

Lew Tucker, VP & CTO, Cloud computing at Cisco said: "OpenStack is emerging as the standard for the on-premises component of hybrid cloud." Perhaps this is a message that is growing in momentum and cloud users should be looking out for more OpenStack private cloud standardisation efforts.

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