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May 8, 2017

OpenStack Summit: The second generation of private cloud

The OpenStack Summit 2017 in Boston kicked off with the company discussing the evolution of the private cloud.

By James Nunns

Now heading into its seventh year and with over five million cores in production, OpenStack’s growth has largely been tied to private cloud deployments and it’s gone through several different adoption styles.

A new consumption model is becoming increasingly common, the remotely managed private cloud. This means that the cloud can be in the business’s premises or a provider’s and it means that, in theory, the adopter can have all the benefits of a private cloud but not be fully responsible for the operational model.

For this reason, and others, Jonathan Bryce, executive director, OpenStack Foundation, speaking at the OpenStack Summit in Boston, said that we are heading into, “the second generation of private cloud.”

OpenStack is aiming to help capture this operational model shift by opening a new category in the OpenStack Marketplace for those that are offering remotely managed private cloud solutions.

Already the likes of IBM, Mirantis, Ubuntu, Rackspace, Cisco and more are listed as options.

The move is an extension of the open source cloud’s desire to be easier to use, which is one of the five areas prioritised by the group’s leadership.

The key areas that are looking to be addressed are: what is OpenStack, this will look at what exactly is in a project and will work to show how exactly everything fits together. The next area is looking to improve the feedback loop, so how to translate user requirements upstream.

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The third area is addressing complexity. Lauren Sell, VP of Marketing & Community Services at OpenStack Foundation, said that the company, while almost seven years old, “still gets dinged on complexity,” but that the foundation had take this to heart and would work towards removing unused features, pruning configuration options and culling projects.

The final two areas of focus will see the foundation working more with adjacent communities, with OpenStack saying that it’s, “not just about inviting people into our community, but for us to go into their community and contribute.” OpenStack is also planning on growing new community leaders, making it easier for contributors in other time zones and cultures.

Read more: OpenStack private cloud: benefits, challenges and what the future holds

None of this really equates to any kind of big change for OpenStack, which is understandable. OpenStack isn’t a new technology on the block and it’s building its enterprise customer footprint, seemingly with a considerable amount of success, so no big changes are required.

What does seem to be going on is that customers are still figuring out what use cases to apply OpenStack to, NFV is still a big driver, but edge computing is also seeing a spike in interest. According to Bryce, areas such as the fashion industry have been looking at this.

The argument for edge computing is that with so much data being collected at the edge it doesn’t really make sense to send it all back to the data centre. With the Internet of Things still on the cusp of hitting astronomical numbers, now would be a good time for OpenStack to prove its value in this area.

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