The way that IT certifications have long worked is that they have largely been vendor-specific. That's something that is about to change with the open-source OpenStack cloud platform.
Rather than relying on vendor-specific certifications, a new effort being led by OpenStack vendor Mirantis is aiming to open-source certification for the cloud. The new effort is different from an existing effort known as Refstack.
Boris Renski, co-founder of Mirantis, explained to eWEEK that Refstack is about defining a set of API-level tests for specific OpenStack implementations (offered by cloud providers like Rackspace) and OpenStack distributions to pass in order to be able to call themselves OpenStack.
"What we are doing is about exposing objective information with regard to drivers and plug-ins that third-party vendors write (like NetApp, VMware, Ceth, etc.) about compatibility with particular versions of OpenStack," Renski said.
For example, Renski said that if an IT person has EMC storage in-house and wants it managed via OpenStack, there will be a place for that person to now go and see what specific EMC storage products work with what version of OpenStack.
When it comes to Linux certification, many vendors have typically tied certification to a specific kernel that is in use on a given system. Renski said that the OpenStack drivers translate the respective OpenStack API calls into the API calls that a certain vendor's solution can understand.
"For most of these drivers, there are few kernel-level dependencies," Renski said.
The process by which vendors will be able to certify their solutions will not initially be independently verified by a third party. At this point, the testing will be a self-audit, Renski said, with vendors deploying the test harness in their internal test labs and linking it directly to the upstream OpenStack Continuous Integration (CI) system.
"Down the road, we may push for a foundation-sponsored physical lab to be added for the next level of testing rigor, but this won't happen until later in 2014," Renski said.
As far as Mirantis' role in the effort, Renski said his company is helping the community build the internal test harness. In addition, Mirantis is writing instructions for vendors to follow to deploy this test harness and run the tests. Mirantis is also working with individual vendors, supporting them on a pro bono basis in order to successfully build the test harness. Finally, Mirantis is building a public dashboard that will expose the results of the tests.
"It is a big project with many parties involved, so while there are no immediate roadblocks per se, it will take a bit of rigor and persistence to make this thing work," Renski said.