Momentum builds as major OpenStack rev approaches

Mirantis, IBM, and Canonical are making OpenStack a key part of their business strategies

With Kilo, the next major version OpenStack, slated to drop at the end of April, activity around OpenStack has started heating up. Here are three of the bigger OpenStack-related developments that came and went in the past week, each with implications for different parts of OpenStack and different segments of the target audience.

1. Google and Mirantis add Docker's Kubernetes to OpenStack

It seemed inevitable that OpenStack and the wildly popular app-container system Docker would work together at some point; the only question was how and to what end.

Mirantis stepped up to the plate. It took Google's Kubernetes container orchestration technology, paired it with OpenStack's Murano app-catalog system, and used the combination to get Dockerized apps running in OpenStack. Each piece plays a key role: OpenStack provisions the resources, Kubernetes organizes those resources into clusters, and Docker containers run on the clusters.

Mirantis emphasizes this is a no-lock-in situation, since the apps can be moved freely between both public and private environments that support Kubernetes. (On that note, Google published some information about working with container clusters on VMs.)

Empowering OpenStack with Docker -- or is it empowering Docker with OpenStack? -- seems like a fait accompli, given how successful Docker has been in gaining traction with enterprises. In fact, it's far more successful than OpenStack, which only recently seems to be making a dent its backers have hoped for and is becoming less daunting to work with. If Docker and its associated technologies wind up making OpenStack more successful, it'll be tempting to give Docker the lion's share of the credit.

2. IBM's hybrid cloud plans are part OpenStack, part Docker, and part Bluemix

IBM's professed love of OpenStack isn't news; it was back in 2013 when IBM announced it would recenter all of its cloud development going forward around OpenStack. But last week IBM went a concrete step further and laid out a plan -- well, most of a plan -- for how OpenStack was to be a key part of its hybrid cloud. The other two key ingredients are signature PaaS Bluemix (soon to be available in a locally deployable version) and -- what else? -- Docker.

Most everyone putting together a hybrid cloud has a common substrate for both the local and remote components. In VMware's case, it's the surprisingly popular VMware vCloud Hybrid Service; in Microsoft's case, a tightly cross-integrated Windows Server and Azure. Still unclear is how IBM will provide OpenStack as part of its plans -- as a subscription service? Will the IT staff deploy the bits on their own? The method will be as crucial as the execution.

3. Canonical's latest OpenStack win is, once again, a telco play

If OpenStack has one ceaseless defender and supporter, it's Canonical. After the company backed off on Ubuntu as a desktop environment and doubled down on pushing the server edition of Ubuntu as a cloud building block, OpenStack became even more strategically important to Canonical -- especially when the company could point to its widespread use within OpenStack as a badge of honor.

Most of the joint uptake for Ubuntu and OpenStack has involved service providers, which explains why Canonical's latest OpenStack announcement is a team effort between the company and Juniper to create a carrier-grade OpenStack solution. Canonical points to terms like "carrier grade" as proof that it's battle-hardened and fire-tested its product and has hinted at how ordinary enterprises can benefit from its industrial-strength tempering. But the improvements that are most appealing to enterprises might come from other directions -- Docker, for instance.


Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.