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3 OpenStack Predictions For 2015

VMware customers will surge, Debian will become the vendor-neutral platform, and instability will lose its cool factor.

operating system for OpenStack today. All of OpenStack infrastructure runs on it and every developer commit is tested against the Ubuntu host.

Although Canonical (the commercial entity behind Ubuntu) is a Mirantis partner and has been instrumental in helping OpenStack win developer mindshare and end-users, the company can't yet demonstrate a similar track record when it comes to contributing code to the upstream OpenStack project. Canonical doesn't yet have any core developers or project technical leads and was only the number 42 contributor in the Juno release cycle, totaling 32 commits across OpenStack projects. Compare that to Red Hat or SUSE, neither of which is the official community platform, but landed well over a thousand commits with number 2 and number 6 spots for the Juno release, respectively. There is a clear unbalance.

Debian is an upstream version of Ubuntu. Debian suffers from a fairly chaotic release cycle and doesn't have the hardware compatibility list of Ubuntu, but after Red Hat's acquisition of CentOS, Debian emerged as the only mainstream, yet completely vendor-neutral and community-driven, Linux distributor. And remember, the OpenStack community is all about vendor neutrality. Add to that the fact that HP, which runs the OpenStack Infrastructure project since inception, has decided to standardize its Helion OpenStack product on Debian as a host, and you can see where this train might go.

Prediction #3: "Running the trunk" will stop being cool.
Until recently, the OpenStack community has been focused on quickly developing new features, rather than stabilizing the features being developed. At the same time, many OpenStack adopters have become obsessed with the promise of pulling these sexy, new, raw features from upstream environments and into production, also known as "running the trunk." Because "running the trunk" is cool and something that sparks conversation, a bit of effort was poured by the community into educating the world that the optimal way to adopt OpenStack is to run the trunk.

I'd like for everyone to stop for a second and answer this question: How many companies do you know that run mission-critical production workloads on the Linux trunk?

The illogical and over-marketed obsession with the latest release is the number-one threat to OpenStack vitality today. The project's upstream environment is a development sandbox. Upstream OpenStack doesn't work and it never will … and that is OK. What's not OK is to expect otherwise and then get frustrated over stability.

In 2015, OpenStack adopters have to finally realize that "running the trunk" and "stable" are mutually exclusive. Moreover, running the latest release is just as juvenile. If a vendor releases its "commercial grade" distribution immediately after the upstream release, one should question how much hardening went into that commercial-grade release instead of applauding the vendor. Old code is usually better than new code, and despite OpenStack's upcoming Kilo having the promise of eventually becoming the most stable release, on day one it will be less stable than Juno.

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