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April 22, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:05am

What to expect from OpenStack Summit 2016: Free training & certification, vendor strategy and cloud use cases set to steal the show

Analysis: CBR will be reporting live from the Summit.

By James Nunns

In Austin Texas from the 25th – 29th of April the OpenStack community will be holding its annual Summit.

In 2015 the event which was held in Vancouver where over 6000 attendees attended to find out more about the open source cloud.

Focus of the 2015 event was around the development of use cases for the technology, showcasing that it had indeed become a suitable option for enterprise use. The event this year will need to change focus and there should be plenty of attention paid to cloud strategy.

With over 7,000 attendees expected at this year’s event, including CBR, there will be plenty of people waiting to hear more about software developments, strategic positioning, training opportunities and use cases.

In recent weeks a number of the major tech vendors that has associations with OpenStack, have been revealing strategy chances.

Google for example revealed that is has developed, in collaboration with Red Hat and Biarca, an OpenStack Cinder backup drive for Google Cloud Storage that will be available in the latest OpenStack release – Mitaka.

The strategic importance of this is that Google is saying that both Mitaka and OpenStack are part of its roadmap to making the Google Cloud Platform a seamless public cloud complement for OpenStack environments.

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Intel is another company which has become increasingly vocal in its support for the open source cloud technology. The company recently changed its private cloud strategy in order to align itself more closely with OpenStack in order to take on the Tier 1 cloud providers.

The company revealed in a whitepaper that over the next two years it aims to create an organisation wide hybrid cloud "that’s just as good as offerings from Tier 1 cloud service providers," said the whitepaper.

One of the key elements of this move by Intel is the omission of VMware from its plans, with the chip manufacturer seemingly no longer wanting to use the VMware ESXI hypervisor when it comes to OpenStack.

Looking forwards to the event it seems unlikely that major strategy developments like these will arise but given the agile nature of OpenStack, it can’t be written off.

As with any tech conference, there is likely to be advances made in the technology. With so many big name vendors such as Intel, IBM, VMware, Rackspace, Dell, Cisco, Red Hat, HPE and more present, on-lookers can expect plenty of software and services to be unveiled.

OpenStack software

A betting man would probably put their money on a focus on making OpenStack easier to use. The reason for this is because that has been probably the main complain about it. Since its inception the open source cloud has been labelled as being overly complex and a lot of work has been put into make it easier to use.

While a lot of work has already been done, it is never finished. This is why vendor releases will likely be related to ease of OpenStack integration with their own proprietary technologies, especially so at this event given the recent release of the Mitaka.

Another of the problems laid at the feet of OpenStack is the belief that use cases for the technology are thin on the ground. In recent years the community has set about proving this wrong with a list of use cases as long as your arm.

Attendees and onlookers should expect to see more of this as vendors reveal developments around security, the Internet of Things, and big data.

Further to this, there will likely be a large number of case studies presented, both those that are already known of and those that will be newly announced.

Recent deployments have seen the likes of Volkswagen adopt the technology and representatives from the car manufacturer will be delivering a keynote on the Monday morning.

Other users that will be speaking at the event will include AT&T, OVH, SAP, Workday, and Verizon. The list doesn’t end there, with the likes of Bloomberg, HMRC, CERN, Nike and numerous other adopters present.

One of the new additions to the Summit will be the OpenStack Academy, which will house hands-on-workshops, day-long intensive training sessions and professional certification exams. The training courses will be run and offered free of charge to registered participants.

Austin Convention Centre

Free training and certification is always likely to go down well and is something that others have been busy pushing as well.

Microsoft for example just revealed a few freebies to lure IT professionals to the Azure cloud. The reason for this is that these clouds live and die by the adoption levels among developers.

Basically, if no developers are using it then it won’t be a widely adopted technology, so the more developers and IT professionals that a cloud can get on board the better its chances of success.

Given the increased success of OpenStack, the Summit will likely attract more attention but the vendors and community will still have to focus on the problems that have dogged it since day one.

Stay tuned to CBR for coverage of the event including live tweeting from the keynotes at @CBRonline.


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