OpenStack execs: Red Hat, Yahoo, Comcast are our adopters -- and contributors

In an interview at OSCON, OpenStack officials said upcoming releases will focus on high-level services

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InfoWorld: What gaps still need to be filled in OpenStack?

Bryce: It's not about the core infrastructure services. If you look at enterprises and if you look at companies in every industry, they are relying more than ever on software and data analysis to drive business decisions. What people are really starting to work on in the OpenStack ecosystem are higher-level services. Savanna is a big data analytics processing service. It's like Elastic MapReduce as a service on top of OpenStack infrastructure. There's a relational database as a service, Trove. There are these higher-level services that are built on top of the core compute storage and networking, and that's where I think you see it going and where there are gaps in enterprises where they need to go fill these capabilities to make their business decisions.

InfoWorld: What are going to be the highlights of the upcoming Juno and Kilo releases of OpenStack?

Bryce: One of the things that is a pretty massive update on the storage side -- it's actually available now from the object storage upstream, but it will be in the Juno release -- is storage policies. That's a way to set rules and service levels inside of your storage environment so that you can meet performance requirements, whether it's speed or price or redundancy. It's a pretty powerful feature that takes the reality of what most data centers look like, where they have solid-state drives, they have SAN, they have spinning disks, they have a lot of different kinds of storage. And they are having to manage those independently, and it now gives you a system to manage all of this holistically and at a software level.

InfoWorld: What about the Kilo release?

Bryce: One the things that's been an incubated project inside of the OpenStack ecosystem for a while is something called Ironic. And a lot of people think about cloud in terms the next step of virtualization. Hypervisors have been one of the key components of the well-known clouds, but one of the bigger business reasons why we've seen people move off of the big public cloud providers and into internal infrastructure is for performance, where they need guaranteed performance. The best way to get that is by going directly to the hardware, to the bare metal. Ironic allows you to manage bare metal in the way that you manage virtual machines and, again, to do it through OpenStack. You can have an environment where you're provisioning virtual machines for some workloads and you're talking directly to hardware servers for other workloads as the need dictates.

InfoWorld: Do you have numbers on how many user sites, whatever, are deploying OpenStack technology?

Bryce: It's really hard to get a number because it's freely available software, it gets distributed through dozens of different commercial products and services. We have known deployments in about 150 cities around the world and they range in size from very small environments with a few dozen servers to large environments, like the one that CERN (European Organization of Nuclear Research) has where they are studying the fundamental nature of matter.

InfoWorld: These different users -- Disney, Wells Fargo -- what really drives them to OpenStack?

Collier: It's really the need to automate their infrastructure. Every company is increasingly building different applications, so they have developers that want to quickly get resources so they can build an application, basically create value for their company for their customers, and they want to do it faster and cheaper. OpenStack is a really appealing way to do that because it's all about automation. Taking something that would have taken weeks before to provision some servers for their developers to get going with their project and they can do it in minutes and they can use a self-service dashboard and push that out all the way to the developers inside the company.

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