HP's Monty Taylor Tries to Counter OpenStack Doubters' Arguments

Monty Taylor, distinguished engineer with Hewlett-Packard, which is the top OpenStack contributor in the world, presented his views about why OpenStack naysayers are wrong.

HONG KONG—Monty Taylor has the title of Distinguished Engineer at Hewlett-Packard and also holds the distinction of currently being the top open-source OpenStack cloud developer in the world, based on the volume of code commits.

Speaking at the OpenStack Summit here, Taylor delivered a keynote address giving his views on why OpenStack works and why the naysayers are flat out wrong in most cases.

One of the primary promises of open source in general, is that users are not locked into particular cloud technology vendors. Simply put, Taylor said that no enterprise user of technology really wants to be locked in. Going a step further he added that organizations want to be able to affect the lifestyle of the application in order to get technology that works for them.

"It's our mission with OpenStack to produce ubiquitous cloud computing," Taylor declared.

With that lofty goal in mind, Taylor said that he has often heard many questions about OpenStack. One question frequently received from HP customers is whether or not OpenStack is really open or if it's just another elaborate vendor lock-in scheme dressed up in open-source packaging.

Another common question that has emerged is about the actual maturity of OpenStack. After all, the project is just three years old, and people are concerned about security as well as complexity.

Taylor has answers for all of those questions and the answers all begin with the OpenStack community itself.

"We have built a community of over 1,600 developers and over 250 companies," Taylor said. "That's an insane number of people to be working on this thing and the fact that we collaborate all the time is nothing short of a miracle."

That miracle is supported by the reality that every piece of code that comes into OpenStack is tested rigorously. Taylor said that in the OpenStack community, something that has not been tested is considered to be broken.

"If you submit a patch, we will run all sorts of tests on it and make sure it works," Taylor said.

All that testing is done on OpenStack public cloud infrastructure from different vendors, which is also a proof point for the validity of the open-source cloud platform's interoperability.

"So if anyone says you can't have interoperable, multi-vendor OpenStack cloud apps, they are lying to you. We do it every day," Taylor said.

The robust testing regimen at OpenStack is also Taylor's answer to the question about both maturity and security. That said, Taylor stressed that as the project grows, so too does the need for more developers to contribute to the infrastructure testing and development needs of OpenStack.

On the security front, Taylor said that code reviews and penetration testing exercises are all part of the regular process, but also an area that will require more vendor participation in the future.

"No one out there doesn't want us to be secure," Taylor said.

As OpenStack is powered by its community, Taylor warned about the potential future danger of vendors simply focusing on their own plug-ins to OpenStack instead of also contributing to the core of OpenStack itself. To that end, he asked all the developers and vendors in the Hong Kong audience to do what they can to help the project.

"If your amazing plug-in works, but the OpenStack core doesn't, your plug-in is sitting on a pile of mud," Taylor said.

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

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.