Has OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, come into its own? Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux—which happens to be the most popular OS for OpenStack deployments—is saying so this week as it touts the rapid maturity of the software. Now, the question becomes: Does the channel agree?
In a blog post, Canonical employee Mark Baker on Tuesday geekily quips that OpenStack is no longer "fun"—by which he means the challenges and rough edges that used to accompany its deployment are a thing of the past. Now, he says, user-friendly management tools, such as Canonical's own Juju, have fully prepared OpenStack for prime time, and have hastened its entry into enterprise production environments. To prove the point, he noted a demonstration by Mark Shuttleworth at the OpenStack Summit in Portland, Ore., in which the Ubuntu founder and erstwhile space tourist (who has yet to comment publicly on Justin Bieber's recent decision to follow in his path) showed off just how robust and integrated OpenStack has become.
In many ways, the OpenStack narrative that Canonical is laying out is accurate. The rise of the cloud computing platform has been remarkably rapid. In the fewer than three years since the first release of OpenStack in the fall of 2010, it has enjoyed major endorsement across the open source ecosystem and has increased in usability by leaps and bounds. Last September, the software also gained the backing of a consortium of open source stakeholders in the form of the OpenStack Foundation.
It's worth keeping in mind, though, that OpenStack is not quite as Ubuntu-centric as Canonical seems to want to imply. Unlike other open source technologies for Big Data and the cloud, including Ceph and GlusterFS, OpenStack does not enjoy greater support from some quarters of the open source world than from others. As it stands, it is essentially the cloud computing solution for all open source vendors, with tremendous value for VARs of all kinds.
But that doesn't diminish the impressive momentum of OpenStack development or its ever-increasing importance for enterprises across the world. And even if Canonical might tend to downplay the engagement that other open source companies such as Red Hat (RHT) have afforded to OpenStack, it's nonetheless true that the platform enjoys tight integration with Ubuntu.
And so the basic message for the channel is clear: OpenStack is here to stay, and it's only going to grow more important as the ecosystem around it continues to mature. It will define open source cloud computing.