How the OpenStack Foundation Is Evolving Beyond Its Roots

VANCOUVER, B.C.—The OpenStack Foundation is in a period of transition as it seeks to enable a broader set of open infrastructure efforts than just the OpenStack cloud project itself.

In a video interview at the OpenStack Summit here, OpenStack Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Bryce and Chief Operating Officer Mark Collier discussed how the open-source organization is still thriving, even as corporate sponsorship changes and attendance at events declines.

At the event, Collier said there were approximately 2,600 registered attendees, which is nearly half the number that came to the OpenStack Boston 2017 event. OpenStack's corporate sponsorship has also changed, with both IBM and Canonical dropping from the Platinum tier of membership.

"What we're really interested in is seeing who is here and what they want to talk about," Collier said. "There is always a phase when curiosity is driving people to come to a conference and people come to just take information, and we already went through that phase."

Collier added that at the Vancouver event the percentage of cloud architects is double what it was a year ago. 

"People know what OpenStack is; the curiosity phase is over," he said.


In terms of members, while IBM and Canonical are no longer Platinum members of the OpenStack Foundation, Collier said Ericsson and Tencent have taken their places. He added that those two new Platinum members understand infrastructure at massive scale and help to expand the diversity of the OpenStack community.

Overall, OpenStack has undergone some significant changes over the last two years, as use cases for the open-source cloud technology have changed.

"When you create general-purpose open-source technology, you never know where it's going to go," Bryce said. 

Bryce and Collier were both part of the team at Rackspace that helped create the OpenStack project in 2010. With the creation of the OpenStack Foundation in 2012, the original idea was that the technology would be running inside of data centers. 

"Now you look and it [OpenStack] is running in telco environments. They're starting to do 5G and edge deployments," Bryce said.

The OpenStack Foundation is now also opening up to be a broader effort than just its namesake cloud platform. So far, there are two stand-alone efforts, with the Kata Containers project for security containers and the Zuul project for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD). It's not yet clear what the next projects for the foundation will be.

"For us, rather than having a grand plan for the way it's all going to work, we're taking small steps to see what is right for the community, what's right for us at the foundation," Bryce said. "It's rapid iteration and learning what the right approach is."

Watch the full video interview with Bryce and Collier above.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.